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HANDBOOK 

OF 
NATURE-STUDY 


ANNA  BOTSFORD  COMSTOCK 

SEPTEMBER     I,     1854-  AUGUST    24,     1930 


HANDBOOK 

OF 

NATURE -STUDY 


B  r 

ANNA   BOTSFORD  COMSTOCK,  B.S.,  L.H.D. 

LATE  PROFESSOR  OF  NATURE-STUDY  IN 
CORNELL  UNIVERSITY 


TWENTY-FOURTH  EDITION 


COMSTOCK  PUBLISHING  ASSOCIATES 

A  DIVISION  OF  CORNELL  UNIVERSITY  PRESS 
ITHACA,  NEW  YORK 


COPYRIGHT,  1911,  BY 
ANNA  BOTSFORD  COMSTOCK 

COPYRIGHT,  1939,  BY 
COMSTOCK  PUBLISHING  COMPANY,  INC. 


All  rights  reserved.  This  book,  or  parts  thereof,  must 
not  be  reproduced  in  any  form  without  permission  in 
writing  from  the  publisher,  except  by  a  reviewer  who 
wishes  to  quote  brief  passages  in  a  review  of  the  book 

24th  Edition 

Third  printing,  December,  1944 

Fourth  printing,  March,  1945 

Fifth  printing,  January,  1947 

Sixth  printing,  November,  1947 

Seventh  printing,  March,   1948 

Eighth  printing,  December,  1948 

Ninth  printing,  September,   1950 

Tenth  printing,  September,  1951 

Eleventh  printing,  February,  1952 

Twelfth  printing,  February,  1953 

Thirteenth  printing,  December,  1953 

Fourteenth  printing,  July,  1955 

Fifteenth  printing,  January,  1957 

Sixteenth  printing,  December,  1957 


PRINTED   IN  THE   UNITED   STATES   OF  AMERICA 
BY  THE   VAIL-BALLOU   PRESS,  INC.,  BINCHAMTON,   N.    Y. 


TO 
LIBERTY  HYDE  BAILEY 

UNDER  WHOSE   WISE,    STAUNCH,    AND    INSPIRING   LEADERSHIP 

THE   NATURE-STUDY  WORK  AT   CORNELL   UNIVERSITY 

HAS   BEEN    ACCOMPLISHED 

AND   TO   MY   CO-WORKER 

JOHN  WALTON  SPENCER 

WHOSE    COURAGE,   RESOURCEFULNESS,   AND   UNTIRING  ZEAL 
WERE  POTENT  FACTORS  IN  THE  SUCCESS  OF  THE  CAUSE 

THIS  BOOK  IS  DEDICATED 


MO.  PUBLIC  LIBRARY 


0  0001  0006140  5 


PUBLISHER'S  FOREWORD 


The  publication  of  the  twenty-fourth 
edition  of  the  Handbook  of  Nature-Study 
seemed  an  appropriate  time  to  make  cer- 
tain revisions  which  had  become  press- 
ingly  necessary,  to  replace  and  improve 
the  illustrations,  and  to  incorporate  sug- 
gestions which  had  been  received  from 
many  interested  friends.  Accordingly,  the 
entire  text  has  been  carefully  scrutinized, 
and  has  been  corrected  or  elaborated  in 
the  light  of  the  most  recent  knowledge. 
Where  the  earlier  treatment  seemed  in- 
adequate new  material  has  been  added, 
and  Part  IV  in  particular  has  been  much 
expanded.  New  subjects,  such  as  soil  con- 
servation, have  been  introduced.  We 
think  it  is  safe  to  say  that  the  Handbook 
has  been  well  modernized. 

But  by  far  the  greater  part  of  Mrs. 
ComstocFs  work  proved  to  be  as  accurate 
and  timely  in  1939  as  in  1911,  a  striking 
tribute  to  the  scientific  genius  of  the 
author.  In  such  cases  the  language  of  the 
earlier  text  has  been  preserved,  for  no 
improvement  could  be  made  on  the 
charming  style  that  has  won  friends  in  the 
tens  of  thousands.  And  a  careful  attempt 
has  been  made  throughout  to  preserve  the 
method  of  treatment  adopted  by  Mrs. 
Comstock.  Perhaps  some  justification  of 
this  policy  is  needed.  Some  readers  of  the 
Handbook  have  suggested  that  the  new 
edition  be  oriented  away  from  the  nature- 
study  approach,  and  be  made  instead  to 
serve  as  an  introduction  to  the  natural 
sciences.  For  the  convenience  of  readers 
who  wish  preparation  for  the  academic 
studies,  some  scientific  classifications  and 
terminology  have  been  introduced.  But 
the  nature-study  approach  has  been  pre- 
served. The  kernel  of  that  method  of 
treatment  is  the  study  of  the  organism  in 
its  environment,  its  relation  to  the  world 
about  it,  and  the  features  which  enable  it 
to  function  in  its  surroundings.  This  study 


takes  the  individual  organism,  rather  than 
an  abstract  phylum  or  genus,  as  the  point 
of  departure.  Mrs.  Comstock  believed 
that  the  student  found  in  such  a  study  a 
fresh,  spontaneous  interest  which  was 
lacking  in  formal  textbook  science,  and 
the  phenomenal  success  of  her  work  seems 
to  prove  that  she  was  right.  Moreover, 
nature-study  as  Mrs.  Comstock  conceived 
it  was  an  aesthetic  experience  as  well  as  a 
discipline.  It  was  an  opening  of  the  eyes 
to  the  individuality,  the  ingenuity,  the 
personality  of  each  of  the  unnoticed  life- 
forms  about  us.  It  meant  a  broadening  of 
intellectual  outlook,  an  expansion  of 
sympathy,  a  fuller  life.  Much  of  this  Mrs. 
Comstock  succeeded  in  conveying  into 
her  work;  and  perhaps  it  is  this  inform- 
ing spirit  that  is  the  chief  virtue  of  the 
book. 

But  it  should  not  be  thought  that 
nature-study  is  not  a  science.  The  promis- 
ing science  of  ecology  is  merely  formalized 
nature-study;  indeed  it  might  be  said  that 
nature-study  is  natural  science  from  an 
ecological  rather  than  an  anatomical  point 
of  view.  The  truth  is  that  nature-study  is 
a  science,  and  is  more  than  a  science;  it  is 
not  merely  a  study  of  life,  but  an  experi- 
ence of  life.  One  realizes,  as  he  reads  these 
pages,  that  with  Mrs.  Comstock  it  even 
contributed  to  a  philosophy  of  life. 

Only  the  generous  efforts  of  many 
specialists  made  possible  the  thorough- 
going revision  of  the  book.  Dr.  Marjorie 
Ruth  Ross  assumed  in  large  part  the  re- 
sponsibility for  editorial  supervision  and 
co-ordination,  and  performed  most  of  the 
labor  of  revision  and  replacement  of  il- 
lustrations. Professor  A.  H.  Wright  and 
Mrs.  Wright  made  valuable  suggestions 
and  criticisms  of  the  book  in  general,  pro- 
vided hitherto  unpublished  photographs 
for  the  sections  on  reptiles  and  amphibi- 
ans, and  read  proof  on  those  sections. 


V1I1 

Professor  Glenn  W.  Herrick,  Professor 
J.  G.  Needhanx  and  Dr.  Grace  H.  Gris- 
wold  made  suggestions  for  the  revision 
of  the  material  on  insects,  and  supplied 
illustrations  for  that  section.  Professor 
E.  F.  Phillips  contributed  criticism  for  the 
lesson  on  bees.  Professor  A.  A.  Allen 
kindly  made  suggestions  and  provided  il- 
lustrations for  the  material  on  birds.  Pro- 
fessor B.  P.  Young  gave  assistance  in  the 
treatment  of  aquatic  life;  Dr.  W.  J.  Koster 
made  suggestions  for  improving  the  sec- 
tion on  fish;  and  Dr.  Emmeline  Moore 
selected  photographs  of  fish,  and  on  be- 
half of  the  New  York  State  Department 
of  Conservation  gave  permission  to  use 
them. 

Thanks  are  due  to  Professor  W.  J. 
Hamilton,  Jr.,  for  criticism  of  the  section 
on  mammals  and  for  supplying  several 
photographs;  to  Professor  E.  S.  Harrison 
for  aid  in  revising  the  lesson  on  cattle  and 
supplying  illustrations.  Mrs.  C.  N.  Stark 
made  helpful  suggestions  for  the  revision 
of  the  lesson  on  bacteria.  Miss  Ethel  Belk 
suggested  many  revisions  in  the  part  on 
plants.  Professor  W.  C.  Muenscher  made 
useful  criticisms  of  the  section  on  weeds, 
and  supplied  illustrations.  Professor  C.  H. 
Guise  revised  the  portion  dealing  with 
the  chestnut  tree  and  Professor  Ralph  W. 
Curtis  gave  valuable  assistance  in  the  re- 
vision of  the  whole  section  on  trees,  and 
furnished  pictures.  Professor  Joseph  Os- 
kamp  suggested  several  improvements  in 


PUBLISHER'S  FOREWORD 


the  text  on  the  apple  tree.  Mr.  William 
Marcus  Ingram,  Jr.  prepared  the  captions 
for  the  illustrations  of  shells. 

Professor  H.  Ries  made  extensive  re- 
visions and  additions  in  the  lessons  relat- 
ing to  geology.  Professor  H.  O.  Buckman 
revised  the  lesson  on  soil.  Professor  A.  F. 
Gustafson  revised  the  lesson  on  the 
brook,  and  added  material  on  soil  conser- 
vation. Professor  S.  L.  Boothroyd  not  only 
revised  the  old  text  on  the  sky,  but  he  also 
provided  new  material  and  supplied  maps 
and  photographs  to  illustrate  it.  Dr.  H.  O. 
Geren  made  valuable  suggestions  for  the 
revision  of  the  text  on  weather.  Miss 
Theodosia  Hadley  supplied  material  for 
the  new  bibliography;  Dr.  Eva  L.  Gordon 
revised  the  bibliography,  made  numerous 
suggestions  for  revision  of  other  parts  of 
the  text,  and  provided  some  of  the  illustra- 
tions. 

Dr.  F.  D.  Wormuth  acted  as  literary 
editor  of  the  manuscript.  Dr.  John  M. 
Raines  composed  many  of  the  captions 
for  the  new  illustrations,  and,  with  Mrs. 
Raines,  read  proof  of  the  entire  book. 

Many  teachers  throughout  the  country 
offered  constructive  criticisms;  an  attempt 
has  been  made  to  put  them  into  effect. 
To  all  of  these  persons  the  publishers  wish 
to  express  most  cordial  and  sincere  thanks. 
THE  PUBLISHERS 
ITHACA,  NEW  YORK 

January  i,  1939 


PREFACE 


The  Cornell  University  Nature-Study 
propaganda  was  essentially  an  agricultural 
movement  in  its  inception  and  its  aims; 
it  was  inaugurated  as  a  direct  aid  to  better 
methods  of  agriculture  in  New  York 
State.  During  the  years  of  agricultural  de- 
pression 1891-1893,  the  Charities  of  New 
York  City  found  it  necessary  to  help  many 
people  who  had  come  from  the  rural  dis- 
tricts —  a  condition  hitherto  unknown. 
The  philanthropists  managing  the  Associ- 
ation for  Improving  the  Condition  of  the 
Poor  asked,  "What  is  the  matter  with 
the  land  of  New  York  State  that  it  can- 
not support  its  own  population?  "  A  con- 
ference was  called  to  consider  the  situa- 
tion to  which  many  people  from  different 
parts  of  the  State  were  invited;  among 
them  was  the  author  of  this  book,  who 
little  realized  that  in  attending  that  meet- 
ing the  whole  trend  of  her  activities  would 
be  thereby  changed.  Mr.  George  T. 
Powell,  who  had  been  a  most  efficient  Di- 
rector of  Farmers'  Institutes  of  New  York 
State,  was  invited  to  the  conference  as  an 
expert  to  explain  conditions  and  give  ad- 
vice as  to  remedies.  The  situation  seemed 
so  serious  that  a  Committee  for  the  Pro- 
motion of  Agriculture  in  New  York  State 
was  appointed.  Of  this  committee  the 
Honorable  Abram  S.  Hewitt  was  Chair- 
man, Mr.  R.  Fulton  Cutting,  Treasurer, 
Mr.  Wm.  H.  Tolman,  Secretary.  The 
other  members  were  Walter  L.  Suydam, 
Wm.  E.  Dodge,  Jacob  H.  Schiff,  George 
T.  Powell,  G.  Howard  Davidson,  Howard 
Townsend,  Professor  I.  P.  Roberts,  C. 
McNamee,  Mrs.  J.  R.  Lowell,  and  Mrs. 
A.  B.  Comstock.  Mr.  George  T.  Powell 
was  made  Director  of  the  Department  of 
Agricultural  Education. 

At  the  first  meeting  of  this  committee 
Mr.  Powell  made  a  strong  plea  for  inter- 
esting the  children  of  the  country  in 
farming  as  a  remedial  measure,  and  main- 


tained that  the  first  step  to\vard  agricul- 
ture was  nature-study.  It  had  been  Mr. 
Powell's  custom  to  give  simple  agricul- 
tural and  nature-study  instruction  to  the 
school  children  of  every  town  where  he 
was  conducting  a  farmers'  institute,  and 
his  opinion  was,  therefore,  based  upon 
experience.  The  committee  desired  to  see 
for  itself  the  value  of  this  idea,  and  experi- 
mental work  was  suggested,  using  the 
schools  of  Westchester  County  as  a  labo- 
ratory. Mr.  R.  Fulton  Cutting  generously 
furnished  the  funds  for  this  experiment, 
and  work  was  done  that  year  in  the  West- 
Chester  schools  which  satisfied  the  com- 
mittee of  the  soundness  of  the  project. 

The  committee  naturally  concluded  that 
such  a  fundamental  movement  must  be  a 
public  rather  than  a  private  enterprise; 
and  Mr.  Frederick  Nixon,  then  Chairman 
of  the  Ways  and  Means  Committee  of 
the  Assembly,  was  invited  to  meet  with 
the  committee  at  Mr.  Hewitt's  home.  Mr. 
Nixon  had  been  from  the  beginning  of  his 
public  career  deeply  interested  in  im- 
proving the  farming  conditions  of  the 
State.  In  1894,  it  was  through  his  influ- 
ence and  the  support  given  him  by  the 
Chautauqua  Horticultural  Society  under 
the  leadership  of  Mr.  John  W.  Spencer, 
that  an  appropriation  had  been  given  to 
Cornell  University  for  promoting  the 
horticultural  interests  of  the  western 
counties  of  the  State.  In  addition  to  other 
work  done  through  this  appropriation, 
horticultural  schools  were  conducted  un- 
der the  direction  of  Professor  L.  H.  Bailey 
with  the  aid  of  other  Cornell  instructors 
and  especially  of  Mr.  E.  G.  Lodeman; 
these  schools  had  proved  to  be  most  use- 
ful and  were  well  attended.  Therefore, 
Mr.  Nixon  was  open-minded  toward  an 
educational  movement.  He  listened  to  the 
plan  of  the  committee  and  after  due  con- 
sideration declared  that  if  this  new  meas- 


lire  would  surely  help  the  farmers  of  the 
State,  the  money  would  be  forthcoming. 
The  committee  unanimously  decided  that 
if  an  appropriation  were  made  for  this 
purpose  it  should  be  given  to  the  Cornell 
College  of  Agriculture;  and  that  year  eight 
thousand  dollars  were  added  to  the  Cor- 
nell University  Fund,  for  Extension 
Teaching  and  inaugurating  this  work.  The 
work  was  begun  under  Professor  I.  P. 
Roberts;  after  one  year  Professor  Roberts 
placed  it  under  the  supervision  of  Profes- 
sor L.  H.  Bailey,  who  for  the  fifteen  years 
since  has  been  the  inspiring  leader  of  the 
movement  as  well  as  the  official  head. 

In  1896,  Mr.  John  W.  Spencer,  a  fruit 
grower  in  Chautauqua  County,  became 
identified  with  the  enterprise;  he  had 
lived  in  rural  communities  and  he  knew 
their  needs.  He  it  was  who  first  saw  clearly 
that  the  first  step  in  the  great  work  was 
to  help  the  teacher  through  simply 
written  leaflets;  and  later  he  originated  the 
great  plan  of  organizing  the  children  in 
the  schools  of  the  State  into  Junior  Nat- 
uralists Clubs,  which  developed  a  remark- 
able phase  of  the  movement.  The  mem- 
bers of  these  clubs  paid  their  dues  by 
writing  letters  about  their  nature  observa- 
tions to  Mr.  Spencer,  who  speedily  be- 
came their  beloved  "Uncle  John";  a 
button  and  charter  were  given  for  con- 
tinued and  earnest  work.  Some  years, 
30,000  children  were  thus  brought  into 
direct  communication  with  Cornell  Uni- 
versity through  Mr.  Spencer.  A  monthly 
leaflet  for  Junior  Naturalists  followed;  and 
it  was  to  help  in  this  enterprise  that  Miss 
Alice  G.  McCloskey,  the  able  Editor  of 
the  present  Rural  School  Leaflet,  was 
brought  into  the  work.  Later,  Mr.  Spencer 
organized  the  children's  garden  move- 
ment by  forming  the  children  of  the  State 
into  junior  gardeners;  at  one  time  he  had 
25,000  school  pupils  working  in  gardens 
and  reporting  to  him. 

In  1899,  Mrs.  Maw  Rogers  Miller,  who 
had  proven  a  most  efficient  teacher  when 
representing  Cornell  nature-study  in  the 
State  Teachers*  Institutes,  planned  and 
started  the  Home  Nature-Study  Course 
Leaflets  for  the  purpose  of  helping  the 


PREFACE 

teachers  by  correspondence,  a  work  which 
fell  to  the  author  in  1903  when  Mrs. 
Miller  was  called  to  other  fields. 

For  the  many  years  during  which  New 
York  State  has  intrusted  this  important 
work  to  Cornell  University,  the  teaching 
of  nature-study  has  gone  steadily  on  in  the 
University,  in  teachers'  institutes,  in  State 
summer  schools,  through  various  publica- 
tions and  in  correspondence  courses. 
Many  have  assisted  in  this  work,  notably 
Dr.  W.  C.  Thro,  Dr.  A.  A.  Allen,  and 
Miss  Ada  Georgia.  The  New  York  Edu- 
cation Department  with  Charles  R.  Skin- 
ner as  Commissioner  of  Education  and 
Dr.  Isaac  Stout  as  the  Director  of  Teach- 
ers7 Institutes  co-operated  heartily  with 
the  movement  from  the  first.  Later  with 
the  co-operation  of  Dr.  Andrew  Draper, 
as  Commissioner  of  Education,  many  of 
the  Cornell  leaflets  have  been  written 
with  the  special  purpose  of  aiding  in 
carrying  out  the  New  York  State  Syllabus 
in  Nature-Study  and  Agriculture. 

The  leaflets  upon  which  this  volume  is 
based  were  published  in  the  Home  Na- 
ture-Study Course  during  the  years  1903- 
1911,  in  limited  editions  and  were  soon 
out  of  print.  It  is  to  make  these  lessons 
available  to  the  general  public  that  this 
volume  has  been  compiled.  While  the 
subject  matter  of  the  lessons  herein  given 
is  essentially  the  same  as  in  the  leaflets, 
the  lessons  have  all  been  rewritten  for  the 
sake  of  consistency,  and  many  new  les- 
sons have  been  added  to  bridge  gaps  and 
make  a  coherent  whole. 

Because  the  lessons  were  written  dur- 
ing a  period  of  so  many  years,  each  lesson 
has  been  prepared  as  if  it  were  the  only 
one,  and  without  reference  to  others.  If 
there  is  any  uniformity  of  plan  in  the  les- 
sons, it  is  due  to  the  inherent  qualities  of 
the  subjects,  and  not  to  a  type  plan  in  the 
mind  of  the  writer;  for,  in  her  opinion, 
each  subject  should  be  treated  individu- 
ally in  nature-study;  and  in  her  long  ex- 
perience as  a  nature-study  teacher  she  has 
never  been  able  to  give  a  lesson  twice  alike 
on  a  certain  topic  or  secure  exactly  the 
same  results  twice  in  succession.  It  should 
also  be  stated  that  it  is  not  because  the 


author  undervalues  physics  nature-study 
that  it  has  been  left  out  of  these  lessons, 
but  because  her  own  work  has  been  always 
along  biological  lines. 

The  reason  why  nature-study  has  not 
yet  accomplished  its  mission,  as  thought- 
core  for  much  of  the  required  work  in  our 
public  schools,  is  that  the  teachers  are  as 
a  whole  untrained  in  the  subject.  The 
children  are  eager  for  it,  unless  it  is  spoiled 
in  the  teaching;  and  whenever  we  find  a 
teacher  with  an  understanding  of  out-of- 
door  life  and  a  love  for  it,  there  we  find 
nature-study  in  the  school  is  an  inspira- 
tion and  a  joy  to  pupils  and  teacher.  It  is 
because  of  the  author's  sympathy  with 
the  untrained  teacher  and  her  full  com- 
prehension of  her  difficulties  and  help- 
lessness that  this  book  has  been  written. 
These  difficulties  are  chiefly  three-fold: 
The  teacher  does  not  know  what  there  is 
to  see  in  studying  a  planet  or  animal;  she 
knows  little  of  the  literature  that  might 
help  her;  and  because  she  knows  so  little 
of  the  subject,  she  has  no  interest  in  giving 
a  lesson  about  it.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the 
literature  concerning  our  common  ani- 
mals and  plants  is  so  scattered  that  a 
teacher  would  need  a  large  library  and  al- 
most unlimited  time  to  prepare  lessons 
for  an  extended  nature-study  course. 

The  writer's  special  work  for  fifteen 
years  in  Extension  teaching  has  been  the 
helping  of  the  untrained  teacher  through 
personal  instruction  and  through  leaflets. 
Many  methods  were  tried  and  finally 
there  was  evolved  the  method  followed  in 
this  volume:  All  the  facts  available  and 
pertinent  concerning  each  topic  have  been 
assembled  in  the  "Teacher's  story"  to 
make  her  acquainted  with  the  subject;  this 
is  followed  by  an  outline  for  observation 
on  the  part  of  the  pupils  while  studying 
the  object.  It  would  seem  that  with  the 
teacher's  story  before  the  eyes  of  the 
teacher,  and  the  subject  of  the  lesson  be- 
fore the  eyes  of  the  pupils  with  a  number 
of  questions  leading  them  to  see  the  es- 
sential characteristics  of  the  object,  there 
should  result  a  wider  knowledge  of  nature 
than  is  given  in  this  or  any  other  book. 

That  the  lessons  are  given  in  a  very  in- 


PREFACE  xi 

formal  manner,  and  that  the  style  of  writ- 
ing is  often  colloquial,  results  from  the 
fact  that  the  leaflets  upon  which  the  book 
is  based  were  written  for  a  correspondence 
course  in  which  the  communications  were 
naturally  informal  and  chatty.  That  the 
book  is  meant  for  those  untrained  in  sci- 
ence accounts  for  the  rather  loose  termi- 
nology employed;  as,  for  instance,  the  use 
of  the  word  seed  in  the  popular  sense 
whether  it  be  a  drupe,  an  akene,  or  other 
form  of  fruit;  or  the  use  of  the  word  pod 
for  almost  any  seed  envelope,  and  many 
like  instances.  Also,  it  is  very  likely,  that 
in  teaching  quite  incidentally  the  rudi- 
ments of  the  principles  of  evolution,  the 
results  may  often  seem  to  be  confused 
with  an  idea  of  purpose,  which  is  quite 
unscientific.  But  let  the  critic  labor  for 
fifteen  years  to  interest  the  untrained 
adult  mind  in  nature's  ways,  before  he 
casts  any  stones!  And  it  should  be  always 
borne  in  mind  that  if  the  author  has  not 
dipped  deep  in  the  wells  of  science,  she 
has  used  only  a  child's  cup. 

For  many  years  requests  have  been  fre- 
quent from  parents  who  have  wished  to 
give  their  children  nature  interests  during 
vacations  in  the  country.  They  have  been 
borne  in  mind  in  planning  this  volume; 
the  lessons  are  especially  fitted  for  field 
work,  even  though  schoolroom  methods 
are  so  often  suggested. 

The  author  feels  apologetic  that  the 
book  is  so  large.  However,  it  does  not 
contain  more  than  any  intelligent  coun- 
try child  of  twelve  should  know  of  his 
environment;  things  that  he  should  know 
naturally  and  without  effort,  although  it 
might  take  him  half  his  life-time  to  learn 
so  much  if  he  should  not  begin  before 
the  age  of  twenty.  That  there  are  incon- 
sistencies, inaccuracies,  and  even  blunders 
in  the  volume  is  quite  inevitable.  The 
only  excuse  to  be  offered  is  that,  if  through 
its  use,  the  children  of  our  land  learn  early 
to  read  nature's  truths  with  their  own 
eyes,  it  will  matter  little  to  them  what  is 
written  in  books. 

The  author  wishes  to  make  grateful  ac- 
knowledgment to  the  following  people: 
To  Professor  Wilford  M.  Wilson  for  his 


xii  PREFACE 

chapter  on  the  weather;  to  Miss  Man-  E. 
Hill  for  the  lessons  on  mould,  bacteria, 
the  minerals,  and  reading  the  weather 
maps;  to  Miss  Catherine  Straith  for  the 
lessons  on  the  earthworm  and  the  soil;  to 
Miss  Ada  Georgia  for  much  valuable  as- 
sistance in  preparing  the  original  leaflets 
on  which  these  lessons  are  based;  to  Dean 
L.  H.  Bailey  and  to  Dr.  David  S.  Jordan 
for  permission  to  quote  their  writings;  to 
Mr.  John  W.  Spencer  for  the  use  of  his 
story  on  the  movements  of  the  sun;  to  Dr. 
Grove  Karl  Gilbert  Dr.  A.  C.  Gill  Dr. 
Benjamin  Duggar,  Professor  S.  H.  Gage 
and  Dr.  J.  G.  Needham  for  reading  and 
criticizing  parts  of  the  manuscript;  to 
Miss  Eliza  Tonks  for  reading  the  proof;  to 
the  Director  of  the  College  of  Agriculture 
for  the  use  of  the  engravings  made  for  the 
original  leaflets;  to  Miss  Martha  Van 
Rensselaer  for  the  use  of  many  pictures 
from  Boys  and  Girls;  to  Professor  Cyrus 


Crosby,  and  to  Messrs.  J.  T.  Lloyd,  A.  A. 
Allen  and  R.  Matheson  for  the  use  of 
their  personal  photographs;  to  the  U.  S. 
Geological  Survey  and  the  U.  S.  Forest 
Sendee  for  the  use  of  photographs;  to 
Louis  A.  Fuertes  for  drawings  of  birds;  to 
Houghton  Mifflin  &  Company  for  the  use 
of  the  poems  of  Lowell,  Harte  and  Lar- 
com,  and  various  extracts  from  Burroughs 
and  Thoreau;  to  Small,  Maynard  &  Com- 
pany and  to  John  Lane  &  Company  for 
the  use  of  poems  of  John  T.  Babb;  to 
Doubleday,  Page  &  Company  for  the  use 
of  pictures  of  birds  and  flowers;  and  to  the 
American  Book  Company  for  the  use  of 
electrotypes  of  dragon-flies  and  astron- 
omy. Especially  thanks  are  extended  to 
Miss  Anna  C.  Stryke  for  numerous  draw- 
ings, including  most  of  the  initials. 

ANNA  BOTSFORD  COMSTOCK 
ITHACA,  NEW  YORK 
July,  1911 


CONTENTS 


PART  I 

THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


What  Nature-Study  Is i 

What  Nature-Study  Should  Do  for 

the  Child i 

Nature-Study  as  a  Help  to  Health        2 
What  Nature-Study  Should  Do  for 

the  Teacher 3 

When    and    Why    the    Teacher 

Should  Say  "  I  Do  Not  Know!  "  .  3 
Nature-Study,  the  Elixir  of  Youth  4 
Nature-Study  as  a  Help  in  School 

Discipline 4 

Relation   of  Nature-Study  to  Sci- 
ence              5 

Nature-Study  Not  for  Drill   ...         6 
The  Child  Not  Interested  in  Na- 
ture-Study          6 

When  to  Give  the  Lesson  ....         6 

Length  of  the  Lesson 6 

The  Nature-Study  Lesson  Always 

New 7 

Nature-Study  and  Object  Lessons  .         7 
Nature-Study  in  the  Schoolroom   .         8 
Nature-Study  and  Museum  Speci- 
mens            8 

Lens,  Microscope  and  Field  Glass  as 
Helps      9 


Uses  of  Pictures,  Charts,  and  Black- 
board Drawings 10 

Uses  of  Scientific  Names    ....       10 
The  Stow  as  a  Supplement  to  the 

Nature-Study  Lesson 11 

The  Nature-Study  Attitude  toward 

Life  and  Death 12 

Should  the  Nature-Study  Teacher 
Teach  How  to  Destroy  Life?  .    .       13 

The  Field  Notebook  / 13 

The  Field  Excursion 15 

Pets  as  Nature-Study  Subjects    .    .       15 
Correlation  of  Nature-Study  with 

Language  Work 16 

Correlation    of   Nature-Study   and 

Drawing     17 

Correlation  of  Nature-Study  with 

Geography      18 

Correlation  of  Nature-Study  with 

History 18 

Correlation  of  Nature-Study  with 

Arithmetic     19 

Gardening  and  Nature-Study  ...       20 
Nature-Study  and  Agriculture    .    .       21 

Nature-Study  Clubs 22 

How  to  Use  This  Book 23 


PART  II 

ANIMALS 


BIRDS 27 

Beginning  Bird  Study  in  the  Pri- 
mary Grades 28 

Feathers  as  Clothing 29 

Feathers  as  Ornament 31 

How  Birds  Fly 33 

Migration  of  Birds 35 

Eyes  and  Ears  of  Birds 38 

Form  and  Use  of  Beaks  ....  39 


Feet  of  Birds 

Songs  of  Birds , 

Attracting  Birds 

Value  of  Birds 

Study  of  Birds'  Nests  in  Winter 

Chicken  Ways 

Pigeons 

Canary  and  the  Goldfinch  .    . 
Robin     


40 
42 

43 

45 
46 

47 
5° 
53 
57 


XIV 


CONTENTS 


Bluebird      

\\Tiite-brcasted  Nuthatch    .    .    . 

Chickadee      

Downy  Woodpecker 

Sapsucker 

Redheaded  Woodpecker     .    .    . 
Flicker  or  Yellow-hammer  .    .    . 

Meadowlark 

English  Sparrow 

Chipping  Sparrow 

Song  Sparrow    ........ 

Mockingbird      

Catbird 

Belted  Kingfisher 

Screech  Owl 

Hawks 

Birds  of  Prey  and  Scavengers  .    . 
Swallows  and  the  Chimney  Swift 

Hummingbird 

Red-winged  Blackbird     .... 

Baltimore  Oriole 

Crow 

Cardinal  Grosbeak 

Geese 

Wild  Geese 

Game  Birds 

Turkey 

Birds  of  Marsh  and  Shore    .    .    . 


FISHES 

Goldfish  .  .  . 
Bullhead  .  .  . 
Common  Sucker 
Shiner  .... 
Brook  Trout  .  . 
Stickleback  .  . 
Sunfish  .... 
Johnny  Darter  . 


AMPHIBIANS 

Tailless  Amphibians 

Common  Toad 

Tadpole  Aquarium 

Spring   Peeper   or   Pickering's 

Hyla 

Frog 

Tailed  Amphibians 

Newt  or  Eft 

REPTILES 

Garter  or  Garden  Snake  .... 
Milk  Snake  or  Spotted  Adder  .  . 
Water  Snake 


62 
65 

68 

7° 
74 
76 

77 


86 
89 
91 

95 

97 
100 

104 
106 
109 

"5 

117 

120 
124 

127 
130 

*33 
136 

138 
142 

144 
144 
148 
152 
154 
156 

*59 

162 

166 

170 
170 
170 


177 
180 
187 
187 

193 
194 
197 
198 


Other  Snakes 200 

Turtles 204 

Lizards 210 

MAMMALS     214 

Cotton-tail  Rabbit 215 

Muskrat     219 

House  Mouse 224 

Woodchuck 229 

Red  Squirrel  or  Chickaree  ...  233 

Furry 237 

Chipmunk      239 

Little  Brown  Bat 241 

Skunk      245 

Raccoon      247 

Wolf 250 

Fox      251 

Dogs 254 

Cat      260 

Goat 266 

Sheep      270 

Horse     274 

Cattle     280 

Pig 286 

Animals  of  Zoos  and  Parks  .    .    .  290 

INSECTS 294 

Life  History  and  Structure  of  In- 
sects       294 

INSECTS  OF  THE  FIELDS  AND  WOODS  301 

Black  Swallowtail  Butterfly  .  .  301 

Monarch  Butterfly 305 

Isabella  Tiger  Moth  or  Woolly 

Bear 310 

Cecropia 313 

Promethea  317 

Cynthia 319 

Hummingbird  or  Sphinx  Moths  320 

Codling  Moth 325 

Leaf-miners 329 

Leaf-rollers 332 

Gall  Dwellers 335 

Grasshopper 338 

Katydid 343 

Black  Cricket 344 

Snowy  Tree  Cricket 348 

Cockroach  350 

Aphids  or  Plant  Lice 351 

Ant  Lion 354 

Mother  Lacewing  and  the  Aphis 

Lion 356 


CONTENTS 


Housefly 358 

Colorado  Potato  Beetle  ,    .    .    .  362 

Ladybird 364 

Firefly 367 

Ways  of  the  Ant 369 

How  to  Make  a  Lubbock  Ant- 
nest     373 

The  Ant-nest  and  What  May  Be 

Seen  within  It 374 

Mud-dauber 378 

Yellow  Jacket 380 

Leaf-cutter  Bee 384 

Little  Carpenter  Bee 386 

Bumblebee 389 

Honeybee 391 

Honeycomb .    .    .  395 

Industries  of  the  Hive  and  the 

Observation  Hive 396 

INSECTS  OF  THE  BROOK  AND  POND    .  400 
How  to  Make  an  Aquarium  for 

Insects 400 

Dragonflies  and  Damsel  Flies  .    .  401 

Other  Aquatic  Insects 402 


Caddis  Worms  and  the  Caddis 

Flies 

Mosquito 


XV 

408 
411 


OTHER 


INVERTEBRATE      ANIMALS 

THAN  INSECTS 416 

Garden  Snail 416 

Shells  of  Florida  and  the  East 

Coast 418 

Earthworm 422 

Crayfish 425 

Seashore  Creatures 430 

Daddy  Longlegs  or  Grandfather 

Greybeard 432 

Spiders 435 

Cobwebs 436 

Funnel  Web  of  a  Grass  Spider  .  438 

Orb  Web 439 

Filmy  Dome 443 

Ballooning  Spiders 444 

White  Crab  Spider 445 

Howr  the  Spider  Mothers  Take 

Care  of  Their  Eggs 446 

Other  Invertebrates 448 


PART  III 
PLANTS 


How  to  Begin  the  Study  of  Plants 

and  Their  Flowers 453 

Some  Needs  of  Plants 454 

How  to  Teach  the  Names  of  the 

Parts  of  a  Flower  and  of  the  Plant  456 

Teach  the  Use  of  the  Flower  ...  457 

Flower  and  Insect  Partners  ....  457 

Relation  of  Plants  to  Geography    .  458 

Seed  Germination 458 

WILD  FLOWERS 460 

Hepatica 461 

Yellow  Adder7 s-Tongue  ....  463 

Bloodroot 466 

Trillium      468 

DutchrnanVBreeches  and  Squir- 
rel Com 471 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit      473 

Violet     476 

May  Apple  or  Mandrake  ....  479 

Bluets     483 


Yellow  Lady's-Slipper 484 

Evening  Primrose 488 

Milkweed 491 

White  Water  Lily 495 

Pondweed      498 

Cattail 500 

Type   Lesson   for   a   Composite 

Flower 503 

Goldenrod     503 

Asters      506 

The    Jewelweed    or    Touch-me- 
not     508 

WEEDS 512 

Outline  for  the  Study  of  a  Weed  513 

Poison  Ivy 5*4 

Prevention  of  Ivy  Poisoning    .    .  514 
Curative  Treatment  for  Ivy  Poi- 
soning       514 

Common  or  Field  Buttercup  .    .  516 

Hedge  Bindweed 518 


XVI 


CONTENTS 


Dodder 

\\Tiite  Daisy 

Yellow  Daisy  or  Black-eyed  Susan 

Thistle    .    .' "   .    .    .    . 

Burdock 

Prickly     Lettuce,     a     Compass 

Plant 

Dandelion 

Pearly  Everlasting 

Mullein 

Teasel     

Queen  Anne's  Lace  or  Wild  Car- 
""rot 


520 


524 
527 

529 
531 

53? 

537 
539 

542 


GARDEN  FLOWERS 546 

Crocus 547 

Daffodils  and  Their  Relatives   .  549 

Tulip       552 

Pansy      555 

Bleeding  Heart      558 

Poppies 560 

California  Poppy 563 

Nasturtium 566 

Bee-Larkspur 568 

Blue  Flag  or  Iris 571 

Sunflower 574 

Bachelors-Button      578 

Salvia  or  Scarlet  Sage 579 

Petunias     581 

Garden  or  Horseshoe  Geranium  585 

Sweet  Pea 588 

CULTIVATED  CROP  PLANTS  ....  591 

Clovers 591 

Sweet  Clover 594 

White  Clover 596 

Maize  or  Indian  Corn   ....  598 

Cotton   Plant 604 

Strawberry 608 

Pumpkin 611 

TREES      618 

Parts  of  the  Tree 618 


The  Way  a  Tree  Grows  ....  620 

How  to  Begin  Tree  Study  .    .    .  622 

How  to  Make  Leaf  Prints    .    .    .  626 

Maples 628 

American  Elm 634 

Oaks 638 

Shagbark  Hickory 643 

Chestnut 645 

Horse  Chestnut 648 

Willows 651 

Cottonwood  or  Carolina  Poplar  .  655 

White  Ash 658 

Apple  Tree 661 

How  an  Apple  Grows 665 

The  Apple 667 

Pines 670 

Norway  Spruce 675 

Hemlock 679 

Dogwood 680 

Velvet  or  Staghorn  Sumac  ...  683 

Witch  Hazel 686 

Mountain  Laurel 689 

FLOWERLESS  PLANTS 693 

Christmas  Fern 693 

Bracken 696 

How  a  Fern  Bud  Unfolds    ...  698 

Fruiting  of  the  Fern 699 

Other  Ferns 704 

Field  Horsetail 706 

Hair-cap  Moss  or  Pigeon  Wheat  709 

Other  Mosses  and  Hepatics     .    .  712 

Mushrooms  and  Other  Fungi  .    .  714 
How  Mushrooms  Look  and  How 

They  Live 716 

Puffballs      720 

Bracket  Fungi 721 

Hedgehog  Fungi 725 

Scarlet  Saucer 725 

Morels 726 

Stinkhorns 727 

Molds      727 

Bacteria      729 


PART  IV 
EARTH  AND  SKY 


THE  BROOK 736 

Life  in  the  Brook 739 

How  a  Brook  Drops  Its  Load   .     740 


ROCKS  AND  MINERALS 743 

Rocks 744 

Sedimentary  Rocks 745 


CONTENTS 


Igneous  Rocks 

Metamorphic  Rocks     .... 
Calcite,  Limestone,  and  Mar- 
ble    

Minerals 

Crystal  Growth 

Salt     

Quartz 

Feldspar 

Fossils 

Mica 


THE  SOIL 

Soil  Material 

Soil  Formation 

Kinds  of  Soil 

Soil  Experiments 

How  Valuable  Soil  Is  Lost  . 
Soil  Erosion,  an  Old  Problem 
How  to  Conserve  Our  Soil  . 

THE  MAGNET 


CLIMATE  AND  WEATHER 

Tower  of  the  Winds 

Historical 

Atmosphere 

Air  as  a  Gas 

Composition  of  Air 

Pressure  of  Atmosphere   .... 

The  Barometer 

Height  of  the  Atmosphere  .    .    . 

Temperature  of  the  Atmosphere 

Thermometer  Scales  in  Use    .    . 

Distribution  of  Temperature  and 
Pressure 

Winds  of  the  World 

Storms 

Weather  Maps 

The  Principles  of  Weather  Fore- 
casting   

Forecasts  Based  on  Weather 
Maps 

Maps,  Where  Published  and 
How  Obtained 


746 
748 

748 

75° 

751 
753 
754 

755 
756 

758 

760 
761 
762 
763 
764 
766 
769 

77° 
776 

780 
781 
781 
783 
783 
783 
785 
787 
788 
790 

79° 

791 
791 
798 

799 

799 

800 

800 


Value  of  Weather  Sendee    .    .    . 
How  to  Read  Weather  Maps  .    . 

Highs  and  Lows 

Observations     Concerning     the 

Weather 

Weather  Proverbs 


xvn 

801 

801 


806 

807 


WATER  FORMS 808 


THE  SKIES 

The  Story  of  the  Stars 

How  to  Begin  Star  Study  .... 
Circumpolar  Constellations  .  . 
The  Polestar  and  the  Dippers  .  . 
Cassiopeia's  Chair,  Cepheus,  and 

the  Dragon 

Winter  Stars 

Orion      

Aldebaran  and  the  Pleiades     . 
The  Two  Dog  Stars,  Sirius  and 

Procyon 

Capella  and  the  Heavenly  Twins 

Stars  of  Summer 

Regulus 

Arcturus      

The  Crown 

Spica 

Vega 

Antares 

Deneb  or  Arided 

Altair 

The  Sun 

Comets  and  Meteors 

Shooting  Stars 

The  Relation  between  the  Tropic 

of  Cancer  and  the  Planting  of 

the  Garden 

The  Ecliptic  and  the  Zodiac    .    . 

The  Sky  Clock 

Equatorial  Star  Finder 

The  Relations  of  the  Sun  to  the 

Earth 

How  to  Make  a  Sundial  .... 
The  Moon 


815 
815 
818 
818 
818 

821 
823 
823 
826 


829 

830 
831 
831 
832 
832 
832 
832 
833 

833 
838 
839 


841 
843 
844 

847 

851 

853 
855 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 


NATURE  STUDY  IN  GENERAL  ...  863 
General  Information  and  Stories  863 
Essays  and  Travel 866 


Poetry 

History  and  Biography 
Textbooks  and  Readers 


870 
870 
872 


XV111 


CONTENTS 


Books  for  Parents  and  Teachers  874 

Magazines  and  Periodicals  .    .    .  875 

ANIMAL  LIFE 877 

Animals  in  General 877 

Mammals 880 

Birds 884 

Reptiles,  Amphibians,  and  Fish  888 

Insects  and  Other  Invertebrates  890 

PLANT  LIFE 895 

Plants  in  General 895 

Wild  Flowers  and  Weeds  .    .    .  897 


Flowerless  Plants 898 

Garden  Flowers  and  Cultivated 

Crop  Plants 899 

Trees7  Shrubs,  and  Woody  Vines  901 

EARTH  AND  SKY 904 

The  Earth  and  Its  Life    ....  904 

Weather  and  Climate 906 

Stars  and  Sky 907 


MATERIALS  AND  EQUIPMENT 


909 


INDEX      911 


FULL-PAGE  PLATES 


BIRDS  OF  PREY  AND  SCAVENGERS  .    .     107 
Sparrow  Hawks  —  Snowy  Owl  — 
Screech   Owl  —  Herring  Gull  — 
Black  Vulture  —  Audubon's  Ca- 
racara 

GAME  BIRDS 137 

Ring-necked  Pheasants  —  Wild 
Turkey  —  Ruffed  Grouse?  Nest  of 
—  Eastern  Bobwhite  or  Quail  — 
Dusky  Grouse  —  Woodcock  on 
Nest" 


143 


BIRDS  OF  MARSH  AND  SHORE  .  .  . 
Shoveller  —  Mallard  —  Lesser 
Scaup  Ducks  —  Pied-billed  Grebe 
—  Spotted  Sandpiper  —  Wilson's 
Plover  —  King  Rail  —  Common 
Tern  —  American  Egret  —  Ameri- 
can Bittern 


TAILLESS  AMPHIBIANS 185 

American  Bell  Toad  —  Oak  Toad 

—  Narrow  Mouth  Toad  —  Can- 
yon   or    Spotted    Toad  — Great 
Plains   Toad  —  Spadefoot   Toad 

—  Hammond's          Spadefoot  — 
Canadian  or  Winnipeg  Toad  — 
Yosemite  Toad 

TAILED  AMPHIBIANS 191 

Spotted  Salamander  —  Red  Sala- 
mander —  Marbled  Salamander 

—  Mud  Puppy  —  Tiger  Salaman- 
der —  Slimy   Salamander  —  Slen- 
der Salamander  —  Cave  Salaman- 
der 

SNAKES  I 201 

Ribbon  Snake  —  Coral  Snake  — 
Rubber  Boa  —  Rough  Green 
Snake  —  Timber  Rattlesnake  — 
Desert  Gopher  Snake  or  Bull 
Snake  —  Ring-necked  Snake  — 


Sidewinder  or  Horned  Rattle- 
snake 

SNAKES  II 203 

Pike-headed  Tree  Snake  or  Ari- 
zona Long-headed  Snake  —  Pilot 
Black  Snake  —  Copperhead  — 
Boyle's  King  Snake  or  Boyle's 
Milk  Snake  —  Gray  Pilot  Snake 

—  Water  Moccasin  or  Cotton- 
mouth  —  California  Lyre  Snake 

—  Southern  Hognose  Snake 

LIZARDS  I 211 

Banded  Gecko  —  Chameleon  — 
Fence  Lizard  —  Glass  Snake  or 
Legless  Lizard  —  Alligator  Liz- 
ard or  Plated  Lizard  —  Sonoran 
Skink  —  Gila  Monster 

LIZARDS  II 213 

Regal  Horned  Toad  —  Horned 
Toad  —  Male  Fence  Lizard  — 
Mountain  Boomer  or  Collared 
Lizard  —  Whip-tail  or  Race  Run- 
ner —  Chuck-walla 

ANIMALS  OF  Zoos  AND  PARKS  .    .    .     291 
Rhinoceros  —  Hippopotamus  — 
Kangaroo  —  Zebra  —  Malay  Tiger 

—  Polar      Bear  —  Nubian      Gi- 
raffe —  Bactrian  or  Two-humped 
Camel  —  Wapiti    or    American 
«  Elk  "  -  Virginia     or     White- 
tailed  Deer 

AQUATIC  INSECTS 403 

"Stone  Fly  —  May  Fly  —  Back 
Swimmer  —  Water  Boatman  — 
Water  Walking  Stick  — Water 
Scorpion  —  Water  Bug  —  Giant 
Water  Bug  or  Electric-Light  Bug 

—  Water       Strider  —  Dobson  — 
Predacious  Diving  Beetle  —  Div- 
ing   Beetle  —  Water    Scavenger 


XX 


FULL-PAGE  PLATES 


Beetle  —  Whirligig  Beetle  -  Wa- 
ter Penny  or  Riffle  Beetle  — 
Black  Fly  —  Crane  Fly  —  Drone 
Fly 

SHELLS  OF  FLORIDA  AND  THE  EAST 

COAST 419 

Crown  Melongena  —  Brown- 
mouth  Cymatium  —  White- 
mouth  Cymatium  —  Lined  Mu- 
rex —  Mossy  Ark  —  Black  Lace 
Murex  —  Apple  Murex  — 
White-spike  Murex  —  Moon 
Shell  -  Rock  Worm  Shell  - 
Mouse  Cone  —  Florida  Cone  — 
Giant  Band  Shell  -  Lettered 
Olive  —  Netted  Olive  —  Mottled 
Top  Shell  — Ridged  Chione  — 
Beaming  Scallop  — -  Vase  Shell  — 
Ponderous  Ark  —  Spiny  Pearl 
Shell  —  Little  Red  Murex  — 
Rose  Euglandina  —  Calico  Scal- 
lop —  Volcano  Shell 

SEASHORE  CREATURES 431 

Sea  Urchin  —  Fiddler  Crab  — 
Common  Starfish  —  Egg  Cases 
or  Fisherman's  Purses  —  Notch- 
side  Shell  —  Sand  Dollar  —  Giant 
Whelk  — Great  Ark  Shell - 
Star  Coral  —  Sand  Crab  —  Jelly- 
fish 

INVERTEBRATES 449 

Water  Spider  —  House  Centi- 
pede —  Scorpion  —  Millipede 


—  Water       Sow       Bug  —  Fairy 
Shrimps  —  Tadpole       Shrimp  — 
Dog         Louse  —  Scud  —  Water 
Flea  —  Pleurocera  —  Copepod  — 
Fresh-water    Limpet  —  Gonioba- 
sis  —  Vivipara  —  Wheel  Snails  — 
Campeloma  —  Valvata  —  By- 
thinia  —  Amnicola  -—  Paludes- 
trina  —  Common  Pond   Snail  — 
Pouch   Snail  -—  Fingernail   Clam 
—-Paper-shell  Mussel 

FERNS 705 

Purple  Cliff  Brake  —  Climbing 
Fern  —  Grape  Fern  —  Hart's- 
Tongue  —  Hay-scented  Fern 

—  Maidenhair         Fern  —  Inter- 
rupted    Fern  —  Walking     Leaf 
Fern  —  Cinnamon  Fern  —  Royal 
or  Flowering  Fern 

MOSSES  AND  HEPATICS 713 

Broom  Moss  —  Common  Hair- 
Cap,  Bird  Wheat,  or  Pigeon 
Wheat  Moss  —  Common  Fern 
Moss  —  Awned  Hair-Cap  Moss 

—  Plume  Moss  —  Purple-fringed 
Riccia  —  True  Liverwort 

FOSSILS 757 

Hypohippus  —  Brachiopods  — 
Crane  Fly  -  Trilobites  —  Cy- 
cads  — Crinoid  or  Sea  Lily  — 
Brachiopod  —  Dinosaur  Tracks 


PART   I 
THE   TEACHING   OF    NATURE-STUDY 


THE   TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


WHAT  NATURE-STUDY  Is 

Nature-study  is,  despite  all  discussions 
and  perversions,  a  study  of  nature;  it  con- 
sists of  simple,  truthful  observations  that 
may?  like  beads  on  a  string,  finally  be 
threaded  upon  the  understanding  and 
thus  held  together  as  a  logical  and  har- 
monious whole.  Therefore,  the  object  of 
the  nature-study  teacher  should  be  to  cul- 
tivate in  the  children  powers  of  accurate 
observation  and  to  build  up  within  them 
understanding. 

WHAT  NATURE-STUDY  SHOULD  Do 
FOR  THE  CHILD 

First,  but  not  most  important,  nature- 
study  gives  the  child  practical  and  help- 
ful knowledge.  It  makes  him  familiar  with 


Ralph  W.  Curtis 

nature's  ways  and  forces,  so  that  he  is  not 
so  helpless  in  the  presence  of  natural  mis- 
fortune and  disasters. 

Nature-study  cultivates  the  child's  im- 
agination, since  there  are  so  many  wonder- 
ful and  true  stories  that  he  may  read  with 
his  own  eyes,  which  affect  his  imagination 
as  much  as  does  fairy  lore;  at  the  same 
time  nature-study  cultivates  in  him  a  per- 
ception and  a  regard  for  what  is  true,  and 
the  power  to  express  it.  All  things  seem 
possible  in  nature;  yet  this  seeming  is 
always  guarded  by  the  eager  quest  of  what 
is  true.  Perhaps  half  the  falsehood  in  the 
world  is  due  to  lack  of  power  to  detect 
the  truth  and  to  express  it.  Nature-study 
aids  both  in  discernment  and  in  expression 
of  things  as  they  are. 

Nature-study  cultivates  in  the  child  a 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


love  of  the  beautiful;  it  brings  to  him  early 
a  perception  of  color,  form,  and  music.  He 
sees  whatever  there  is  in  his  environment, 
whether  it  be  the  thunder-head  piled  up 
in  the  western  sky,  or  the  golden  flash  of 
the  oriole  in  the  elm;  whether  it  be  the 
purple  of  the  shadows  on  the  snow,  or 
the  azure  glint  on  the  wing  of  the  little 
butterfly.  Also,  what  there  is  of  sound,  he 


Louis  Agassiz  Fuertes  Council,  Boy  Scouts  of  America 

A  nature  hike 

hears;  he  reads  the  music  score  of  the  bird 
orchestra,  separating  each  part  and  know- 
ing which  bird  sings  it.  And  the  patter  of 
the  rain,  the  gurgle  of  the  brook,  the  sigh- 
ing of  the  wind  in  the  pine,  he  notes  and 
loves  and  becomes  enriched  thereby. 

But,  more  than  all,  nature-study  gives 
the  child  a  sense  of  companionship  with 
life  out-of-doors  and  an  abiding  love  of 
nature.  Let  this  latter  be  the  teacher's 
criterion  for  judging  his  or  her  work.  If 
nature-study  as  taught  does  not  make  the 
child  love  nature  and  the  out-of-doors, 
then  it  should  cease.  Let  us  not  inflict 
permanent  injury  on  the  child  by  turning 
him  away  from  nature  instead  of  toward 
it.  However,  if  the  love  of  nature  is  in  the 
teacher's  heart,  there  is  no  danger;  such 


a  teacher,  no  matter  by  what  method, 
takes  the  child  gently  by  the  hand  and 
walks  with  him  in  paths  that  lead  to  the 
seeing  and  comprehending  of  what  he 
may  find  beneath  his  feet  or  above  his 
head.  And  these  paths,  whether  they  lead 
among  the  lowliest  plants,  or  whether  to 
the  stars,  finally  converge  and  bring  the 
wanderer  to  that  serene  peace  and  hope- 
ful faith  that  is  the  sure  inheritance  of  all 
those  who  realize  fully  that  they  are  work- 
ing units  of  this  wonderful  universe. 

NATURE-STUDY  AS  A  HELP  TO  HEALTH 

Perhaps  the  most  valuable  practical  les- 
son the  child  gets  from  nature-study  is  a 
personal  knowledge  that  nature's  laws  are 
not  to  be  evaded.  Wherever  he  looks,  he 
discovers  that  attempts  at  such  evasion 
result  in  suffering  and  death.  A  knowledge 
thus  naturally  attained  of  the  immuta- 
bility of  nature's  "  must  "  and  "  shall  not  " 
is  in  itself  a  moral  education.  The  realiza- 
tion that  the  fool  as  well  as  the  transgres- 
sor fares  ill  in  breaking  natural  laws  makes 
for  wisdom  in  morals  as  well  as  in  hygiene. 

Out-of-door  life  takes  the  child  afield 
and  keeps  him  in  the  open  air,  which  not 
only  helps  him  physically  and  occupies 
his  mind  with  sane  subjects,  but  keeps 
him  out  of  mischief.  It  is  not  only  during 
childhood  that  this  is  true,  for  love  of 
nature  counts  much  for  sanity  in  later  life. 
This  is  an  age  of  nerve  tension,  and  the 
relaxation  which  comes  from  the  comfort- 
ing companionship  found  in  woods  and 
fields  is,  without  doubt,  the  best  remedy 
for  this  condition.  Too  many  men  who 
seek  the  out-of-doors  for  rest  at  the  present 
time,  can  only  find  it  with  a  gun  in  hand. 
To  rest  and  heal  their  nerves  they  must 
go  out  and  try  to  kill  some  unfortunate 
creature  —  the  old,  old  story  of  sacrificial 
blood.  Far  better  will  it  be  when,  through 
properly  training  the  child,  the  man  shall 
be  enabled  to  enjoy  nature  through  seeing 
how  creatures  live  rather  than  watching 
them  die.  It  is  the  sacred  privilege  of 
nature-study  to  do  this  for  future  genera- 
tions and  for  him  thus  trained,  shall  the 
words  of  Longfellow's  poem  to  Agassiz 
apply: 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY  3 


And  he  wandered  away  and  away,  with 

Nature  the  dear  old  nurse, 
Who  sang  to  him  night  and  day,  the 

rhymes  of  the  universe. 
And  when  the  way  seemed  long,  and  his 

heart  began  to  fail, 
She  sang  a  more  wonderful  song,  or  told 

a  more  wonderful  tale. 

WHAT  NATURE-STUDY  SHOULD  Do  FOR 
THE  TEACHER 

During  many  years,  I  have  been  watch- 
ing teachers  in  our  public  schools  in  their 
conscientious  and  ceaseless  work;  and  so 
far  as  I  can  foretell,  the  fate  that  awaits 
them  finally  is  either  nerve  exhaustion  or 
nerve  atrophy.  The  teacher  must  become 
either  a  neurasthenic  or  a  "  clam." 

I  have  had  conversations  with  hundreds 
of  teachers  in  the  public  schools  of  New 
York  State  concerning  the  introduction 
of  nature-study  into  the  curriculum,  and 
most  of  them  declared,  "  Oh,  we  have  not 
time  for  it.  Every  moment  is  full  now!  " 
Their  nerves  were  at  such  a  tension  that 
with  one  more  thing  to  do  they  must  fall 
apart.  The  question  in  my  own  mind  dur- 
ing these  conversations  was  always,  how 
long  can  she  stand  it!  I  asked  some  of 
them,  "  Did  you  ever  try  a  vigorous  walk 
in  the  open  air  in  the  open  country  every 
Saturday  or  every  Sunday  of  your  teach- 
ing year?  "  "  Oh  no!  "  they  exclaimed  in 
despair  of  making  me  understand.  "  On 
Sunday  we  must  go  to  church  or  see  our 
friends  and  on  Saturday  we  must  do  our 
shopping  or  our  sewing.  We  must  go  to 
the  dressmaker's  lest  we  go  unclad,  we 
must  mend,  and  darn  stockings;  we  need 
Saturday  to  catch  up." 

Yes,  catch  up  with  more  cares,  more 
worries,  more  fatigue,  but  not  with  more 
growth,  more  strength,  more  vigor,  and 
more  courage  for  work.  In  my  belief,  there 
are  two  and  only  two  occupations  for  Sat- 
urday afternoon  or  forenoon  for  a  teacher. 
One  is  to  be  out-of-doors  and  the  other 
is  to  lie  in.  bed,  and  the  first  is  best. 
Out  in  this,  God's  beautiful  world,  there 
is  everything  waiting  to  heal  lacerated 
nerves,  to  strengthen  tired  muscles,  to 
please  and  content  the  soul  that  is  torn 


to  shreds  with  duty  and  care.  To  the 
teacher  who  turns  to  nature's  healing,  na- 
ture-study in  the  schoolroom  is  not  a  trou- 
ble; it  is  a  sweet,  fresh  breath  of  air  blown 
across  the  heat  of  radiators  and  the  noi- 
some odor  of  overcrowded  small  human- 
it}'.  She  who  opens  her  eyes  and  her  heart 
nature-ward  even  once  a  week  finds  na- 
ture-study in  the  schoolroom  a  delight  and 
an  abiding  joy.  What  does  such  a  one 
find  in  her  schoolroom  instead  of  the  ter- 
rors of  discipline,  the  eternal  watching  and 
eternal  nagging  to  keep  the  pupils  quiet 
and  at  work?  She  finds,  first  of  all,  com- 
panionship with  her  children;  and  second, 
she  finds  that  without  planning  or  going 
on  a  far  voyage,  she  has  found  health  and 
strength. 

WHEN  AND  WHY  THE  TEACHER  SHOULD 
SAY  "  I  Do  NOT  KNOW  " 

No  science  professor  in  any  university, 
if  he  be  a  man  of  high  attainment,  hesi- 
tates to  say  to  his  pupils, "  I  do  not  know/' 
if  they  ask  for  information  beyond  his 
knowledge.  The  greater  his  scientific  rep- 
utation and  erudition,  the  more  readily, 
simply,  and  without  apology  he  says  this. 
He,  better  than  others,  comprehends  how 
vast  is  the  region  that  lies  beyond  man's 
present  knowledge.  It  is  only  "the  teacher 
in  the  elementary  schools  who  has  never 
received  enough  scientific  training  to  re- 
veal to  her  how  little  she  does  know,  who 
feels  that  she  must  appear  to  know  every- 
thing or  her  pupils  will  lose  confidence 
in  her.  But  how  useless  is  this  pretense,  in 
nature-study!  The  pupils,  whose  younger 
eyes  are  much  keener  for  details  than  hers, 
will  soon  discover  her  limitations  and  then 
their  distrust  of  her  will  be  real. 

In  nature-study  any  teacher  can  with 
honor  say,  "  I  do  not  know  ";  for  perhaps 
the  question  asked  is  as  yet  unanswered 
by  the  great  scientists.  But  she  should  not 
let  lack  of  knowledge  be  a  wet  blanket 
thrown  over  her  pupils'  interest.  She 
should  say  frankly,  "  I  do  not  know;  let 
us  see  if  we  cannot  together  find  out  this 
mysterious  thing.  Maybe  no  one  knows  it 
as  yet,  and  I  wonder  if  you  will  discover 
it  before  I  do/7  She  thus  conveys  the  right 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 

she  is  never  allowed  to  forget  that  she 
knows  them,  and  finally  her  interests  be- 
come limited  to  what  she  knows. 
pupils  feel  the  thrill  and  zest  of  in-          After  all    what  is   the  chief  sign   of 

•r  £__  x- :n  <,i^w*  fk/^r  r^crv-H-      growing  old?  Is  it  not  me  reeling  mat 

we  know  all  there  is  to  be  known?  It  is 


impression,  that  only  a  little  about  the  in- 
tricate life  of  plants  and  animals  is  yet 
known;  and  at  the  same  time  she  makes 


vestigation.  Nor  will  she  lose  their  respect 

bv  doing  this,  if  she  does  it  in  the  right  . 

soirit    For  three  rears    I  had  for  com-      not  years  which  make  people  old;  it  is 
rades'in  my  walks  afield  two  little  chil-      ™+*  -A  «  "™***™  "*  ^"™*  W1''™ 
dren  and  they  kept  me  busy  saying,  "  I 
do  not  know."  But  they  never  lost  confi- 
dence in  me  or  in  my  knowledge;  they 


Leonard  "K.  Beyer 

Long -spurred  violet 

simply  gained  respect  for  the  vastness 
of  the  unknown. 

The  chief  charm  of  nature-study  would 
be  taken  away  if  it  did  not  lead  us  through 
the  border-land  of  knowledge  into  the 
realm  of  the  undiscovered.  Moreover,  the 
teacher,,  in  confessing  her  ignorance  and 
at  the  same  time  her  interest  in  a  sub- 
ject, establishes  between  herself  and  her 
pupils  a  sense  of  companionship  which  re- 
lieves the  strain  of  discipline,  and  gives 
her  a  new  and  intimate  relation  with  her 
pupils  which  will  surely  prove  a  potent 
element  in  her  success.  The  best  teacher 
is  always  one  who  is  the  good  comrade  of 
her  pupils. 

NATURE-STUDY,  THE  ELIXIR  OF  YOUTH 
The  old  teacher  is  too  likely  to  be- 
come didactic,  dogmatic,  and  "  bossy  ?>  if 
she  does  not  constantly  strive  with  her- 
self. Why?  She  has  to  be  thus  five  days  in 
the  week  and,  therefore,  she  is  likely  to 
be  so  seven.  She  knows  arithmetic,  gram- 
mar, and  geography  to  their  uttermost, 


ruts,  and  a  limitation  of  interests.  When 
wre  no  longer  care  about  anything  except 
our  own  interests,  we  are  then  olcl?  it 
matters  not  whether  our  years  be  twenty 
or  eighty.  It  is  rejuvenation  for  the 
teacher,  thus  growing  old,  to  stand  ig- 
norant as  a  child  in  the  presence  of  one 
of  the  simplest  of  nature's  miracles  — 
the  formation  of  a  crystal,  the  evolution 
of  the  butterfly  from  the  caterpillar,  the 
exquisite  adjustment  of  the  silken  lines 
in  the  spider's  orb  web.  I  know  how  to 
"make  magic"  for  the  teacher  who  is 
growing  old.  Let  her  go  out  with  her 
youngest  pupil  and  reverently  watch  with 
him  the  miracle  of  the  blossoming  violet 
and  say:  "Dear  Nature,  I  know  naught 
of  the  wondrous  life  of  these,  your  small- 
est creatures.  Teach  me!  "  and  she  will 
suddenly  find  herself  young. 

NATURE-STUDY  AS  A  HELP  IN 
SCHOOL  DISCIPLINE 

Much  of  the  naughtiness  in  school  is 
a  result  of  the  child's  lack  of  interest  in 
his  work,  augmented  by  the  physical  in- 
action that  results  from  an  attempt  to  sit 
quietly.  The  best  teachers  try  to  obviate 
both  of  these  causes  of  misbehaviour 
rather  than  to  punish  the  naughtiness  that 
results  from  them.  Nature-study  is  an  aid 
in  both  respects,  since  it  keeps  the  child 
interested  and  also  gives  him  something 
to  do. 

In  the  nearest  approach  to  an  ideal 
school  that  I  have  ever  seen,  for  children 
of  second  grade,  the  pupils  were  allowed, 
as  a  reward  of  merit,  to  visit  the  aquaria 
or  the  terrarium  for  periods  of  five  min- 
utes, which  time  was  given  to  the  blissful 
observation  of  the  fascinating  prisoners. 
The  teacher  also  allowed  the  reading  of 
stories  about  the  plants  and  animals  un- 
der observation  to  be  regarded  as  a  re- 
ward of  merit.  As  I  entered  the  school- 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


room,  eight  or  ten  of  the  children  were 
at  the  windows  watching  eagerly  what 
was  happening  to  the  creatures  confined 
there  in  the  various  cages.  There  was  a 
mud  aquarium  for  the  frogs  and  sala- 
manders, an  aquarium  for  fish,  many 
small  aquaria  for  insects,  and  each  had 
one  or  two  absorbedly  interested  specta- 
tors who  were  quiet,  well-behaved,  and 
were  getting  their  nature-study  lessons 
in  an  ideal  manner.  The  teacher  told  me 
that  the  problem  of  discipline  was  solved 
by  this  method,  and  that  she  was  rarely 
obliged  to  rebuke  or  punish.  In  many 
other  schools,  watching  the  living  crea- 
tures in  the  aquaria  or  terraria  has  been 
used  as  a  reward  for  other  work  well  done. 

THE  RELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
TO  SCIENCE 

Nature-study  is  not  elementary  science 
as  so  taught,  because  its  point  of  attack 
is  not  the  same;  error  in  this  respect  has 
caused  many  a  teacher  to  abandon  nature- 
study  and  many  a  pupil  to  hate  it.  In 
elementary  science  the  work  begins  with 
the  simplest  animals  and  plants  and  pro- 
gresses logically  through  to  the  highest 
forms;  at  least  this  is  the  method  pursued 
in  most  universities  and  schools.  The  ob- 
ject of  the  study  is  to  give  the  pupils  an 
outlook  over  all  the  forms  of  life  and  their 
relation  one  to  another.  In  nature-study 
the  w7ork  begins  with  any  plant  or  crea- 
ture which  chances  to  interest  the  pupil. 
It  begins  with  the  robin  when  it  comes 
back  to  us  in  March,  promising  spring; 
or  it  begins  with  the  maple  leaf  which 
flutters  to  the  ground  in  all  the  beauty  of 
its  autumnal  tints.  A  course  in  biological 
science  leads  to  the  comprehension  of 
all  kinds  of  life  upon  our  globe.  Nature- 
study  is  for  the  comprehension  of  the 
individual  life  of  the  bird,  insect,  or  plant 
that  is  nearest  at  hand. 

Nature-study  is  perfectly  good  science 
within  its  limits,  but  it  is  not  meant  to 
be  more  profound  or  comprehensive  than 
the  capabilities  of  the  child's  mind.  More 
than  all,  nature-study  is  not  science  be- 
littled as  if  it  were  to  be  looked  at  through 
the  reversed  opera  glass  in  order  to  bring 


it  down  small  enough  for  the  child  to 
play  with.  Nature-study,  as  far  as  it  goes, 
is  just  as  large  as  is  science  for  "  grown- 
ups.77 It  may  deal  with  the  same  subject 
matter  and  should  be  characterized  by 
the  same  accuracy.  It  simply  does  not  go 
so  far. 

To  illustrate:  If  we  are  teaching  the 
science  of  ornithology,  we  take  first  the 
Archaeopteryx,  then  the  swimming  and 
scratching  birds,  and  finally  reach  the  song 
birds,  studying  each  as  a  part  of  the 
whole.  Nature-study  begins  with  the  robin 
because  the  child  sees  it  and  is  interested 
in  it,  and  notes  the  things  about  the 
habits  and  appearance  of  the  robin  that 
may  be  perceived  by  intimate  observa- 


An  aquarium 


Hugh  Spencer 


tion.  In  fact,  he  discovers  for  himself  all 
that  the  most  advanced  book  of  ornithol- 
ogy would  give  concerning  the  ordinary 
habits  of  this  one  bird;  the  next  bird 
studied  may  be  the  turkey  in  the  barn- 
yard, or  the  duck  on  the  pond,  or  the 
screech  owl  in  the  spruces,  if  any  of  these 
happen  to  impinge  upon  his  notice  and 
interest.  However,  such  nature-study 
makes  for  the  best  of  scientific  ornithol- 
ogy7, because  by  studying  the  individual 
birds  thus  thoroughly,  the  pupil  finally 
studies  a  sufficient  number  of  forms  so 
that  his  knowledge,  thus  assembled,  gives 
him  a  better  comprehension  of  birds  as 
a  whole  than  could  be  obtained  by  the 
routine  study  of  them.  Nature-study 
does  not  start  out  with  the  classification 
given  in  books,  but  in  the  end  it  builds 
up  in  the  child's  mind  a  classification 
which  is  based  on  fundamental  knowl- 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


edge;  it  is  a  classification  like  that  evolved 
by  the  first  naturalists,  because  it  is  built 
on  careful  personal  observations  of  both 
form  and  life. 

NATURE-STUDY  NOT  FOR  DRILL 
If  nature-study  is  made  a  drill,  its  peda- 
gogic value  is  lost.  When  it  is  properly 
taught,  the  child  is  unconscious  of  mental 
effort  or  that  he  is  suffering  the  act  of 
teaching.  As  soon  as  nature-study  be- 
comes a  task,  it  should  be  dropped;  but 
how  could  it  ever  be  a  task  to  see  that 
the  sky  is  blue,  or  the  dandelion  golden, 
or  to  listen  to  the  oriole  in  the  elm! 


Stanley  Mulaik 


A  young  entomologist 

THE  CHILD  NOT  INTERESTED 
IN  NATURE-STUDY 

What  to  do  with  the  pupil  not  inter- 
ested in  nature-study  subjects  is  a  prob- 
lem that  confronts  many  earnest  teachers. 
Usually  the  reason  for  this  lack  of  inter- 
est is  the  limited  range  of  subjects  used 
for  nature-study  lessons.  Often  the  teacher 
insists  upon  flowers  as  the  lesson  subject, 
when  toads  or  snakes  would  prove  the  key 
to  the  door  of  the  child's  interest.  But 
whatever  the  cause  may  be,  there  is  only 
one  right  way  out  of  this  difficulty:  The 
child  not  interested  should  be  kept  at 
his  regular  school  work  and  not  admitted 
as  a  member  of  the  nature-study  class, 
where  his  influence  is  always  demoraliz- 


ing. He  had  much  better  be  learning  his 
spelling  lesson  than  learning  to  hate  na- 
ture through  being  obliged  to  study  sub- 
jects in  which  he  is  not  interested.  In 
general,  it  is  safe  to  assume  that  the  pu- 
pil's lack  of  interest  in  nature-study  is 
owing  to  a  fault  in  the  teacher's  method. 
She  may  be  trying  to  fill  the  child's  mind 
with  facts  when  she  should  be  leading 
him  to  observe  these  for  himself,  which 
is  a  most  entertaining  occupation  for  the 
child.  It  should  always  be  borne  in  mind 
that  mere  curiosity  is  always  impertinent, 
and  that  it  is  never  more  so  than  when 
exercised  in  the  realm  of  nature.  A  genu- 
ine interest  should  be  the  basis  of  the 
study  of  the  lives  of  plants  and  lower 
animals.  Curiosity  may  elicit  facts,  but 
only  real  interest  may  mold  these  facts 
into  wisdom. 

WHEN  TO  GIVE  THE  LESSON 

There  are  two  theories  concerning  the 
time  when  a  nature-study  lesson  should 
be  given.  Some  teachers  believe  that  it 
should  be  a  part  of  the  regular  routine; 
others  have  found  it  of  greatest  value  if 
reserved  for  that  period  of  the  school 
day  when  the  pupils  are  weary  and  rest- 
less, and  the  teacher's  nerves  strained  to 
the  snapping  point.  The  lesson  on  a  tree, 
insect,  or  flower  at  such  a  moment  affords 
immediate  relief  to  everyone;  it  is  a  men- 
tal excursion,  from  which  all  return  re- 
freshed and  ready  to  finish  the  duties  of 
the  day. 

While  I  am  convinced  that  the  use  of 
the  nature-study  lesson  for  mental  re- 
freshment makes  it  of  greatest  value,  yet 
I  realize  fully  that  if  it  is  relegated  to 
such  periods,  it  may  not  be  given  at  all. 
It  might  be  better  to  give  it  a  regular 
period  late  in  the  day,  for  there  is  strength 
and  sureness  in  regularity.  The  teacher 
is  much  more  likely  to  prepare  herself  for 
the  lesson,  if  she  knows  that  it  is  required 
at  a  certain  time. 

THE  LENGTH  OF  THE  LESSON 

The  nature-study  lesson  should  be 
short  and  sharp  and  may  vary  from  ten 
minutes  to  a  half  hour  in  length.  There 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


should  be  no  dawdling;  if  it  is  an  observa- 
tion lesson,  only  a  few  points  should  be 
noted  and  the  meaning  for  the  observa- 
tions made  clear.  If  an  outline  be  sug- 
gested for  field  observation,  it  should  be 
given  in  an  inspiring  manner  which  shall 
make  each  pupil  anxious  to  see  and  read 
the  truth  for  himself.  The  nature  story 
when  properly  read  is  never  finished;  it 
is  always  at  an  interesting  point,  "  con- 
tinued in  our  next/' 

The  teacher  may  judge  as  to  her  own 
progress  in  nature-study  by  the  length 
of  time  she  is  glad  to  spend  in  reading 
from  nature's  book  what  is  therein  writ- 
ten. As  she  progresses,  she  finds  those 
hours  spent  in  studying  nature  speed 
faster,  until  a  day  thus  spent  seems  but 
an  hour.  The  author  can  think  of  nothing 
she  would  so  gladly  do  as  to  spend  days 
and  months  with  the  birds,  bees,  and  flow- 
ers with  no  obligation  to  tell  what  she 
should  see.  There  is  more  than  mere  in- 
formation in  hours  thus  spent.  Lowell 
describes  them  well  when  he  says: 

Those  old  days  when  the  balancing  of  a 
yellow  butterfly  o'er  a  thistle  bloom 

Was  spiritual  food  and  lodging  for  the 
whole  afternoon. 

THE  NATURE-STUDY  LESSON 

ALWAYS  NEW 

A  nature-study  lesson  should  not  be 
repeated  unless  the  pupils  demand  it.  It 
should  be  done  so  well  the  first  time  that 
there  is  no  need  of  repetition,  because  it 
has  thus  become  a  part  of  the  child's  con- 
sciousness. The  repetition  of  the  same  les- 
son in  different  grades  was,  to  begin  with, 
a  hopeless  incubus  upon  nature-study. 
One  disgusted  boy  declared,  "  Darn  ger- 
mination! I  had  it  in  the  primary  and  last 
year  and  now  I  am  having  it  again.  I 
know  all  about  germination."  The  boy's 
attitude  was  a  just  one;  but  if  there  had 
been  revealed  to  him  the  meaning  of 
germination,  instead  of  the  mere  process, 
he  would  have  realized  that  until  he  had 
planted  and  observed  every  plant  in  the 
world  he  would  not  know  all  about  ger- 
mination, because  each  seedling  has  its 


own  interesting  story.  The  only  excuse 
for  repeating  a  nature-study  lesson  is  in 
recalling  it  for  comparison  and  contrast 
with  other  lessons.  The  study  of  the  violet 
will  naturally  bring  about  a  review  of  the 
pansy;  the  dandelion,  of  the  sunflower; 
the  horse,  of  the  donkey;  the  butterfly,  of 
the  moth. 

NATURE-STUDY  AND  OBJECT  LESSONS 

The  object  lesson  method  was  intro- 
duced to  drill  the  child  to  see  a  thing 
accurately,  not  only  as  a  whole  but  in  de- 
tail, and  to  describe  accurately  what  he 
saw.  A  book  or  a  vase  or  some  other  ob- 
ject was  held  up  before  the  class  for  a 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  mountain  brook 

moment  and  then  removed;  afterwards 
the  pupils  described  it  as  perfectly  as  pos- 
sible. This  is  an  excellent  exercise  and  the 
children  usually  enjoy  it  as  if  it  were  a 
game.  But  if  the  teacher  has  in  mind  the 
same  thought  when  she  is  giving  the  na- 
ture-study lesson,  she  has  little  compre- 
hension of  the  meaning  of  the  latter  and 
the  pupils  will  have  less.  In  nature-study, 
it  is  not  desirable  that  the  child  see  all 
the  details,  but  rather  those  details  that 
have  something  to  do  with  the  life  of  the 
creature  studied;  if  he  sees  that  the  grass- 
hopper has  the  hind  legs  much  longer 
than  the  others,  he  will  inevitably  note 
that  there  are  two  other  pairs  of  legs  and  he 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


will  in  the  meantime  have  come  into  an  il- 
luminating comprehension  of  the  reason 
the  insect  is  called  "grasshopper."  The 
child  should  see  definitely  and  accurately 
all  that  is  necessary  for  the  recognition 
of  a  plant  or  animal;  but  in  nature-study, 
the  observation  of  form  is  for  the  purpose 
of  better  understanding  life.  In  fact,  it  is 
form  linked  with  life,  the  relation  of  *'  be- 
ing "  to  "  doing." 

NATURE-STUDY  IN  THE  SCHOOLROOM 
Many  subjects  for  nature-study  lessons 
may  be  brought  into  the  schoolroom. 
Whenever  it  is  possible,  the  pupils  should 
themselves  bring  the  material,  as  the  col- 
lecting of  it  is  an  important  part  of  the 


eEI 


A.  I.  Root  Co. 

An  observation  beehive 

lesson.  There  should  be  in  the  school- 
room conveniences  for  caring  for  the  little 
prisoners  brought  in  from  the  field.  A 
terrarium  and  breeding  cages  of  different 
kinds  should  be  provided  for  the  insects, 
toads,  and  little  mammals.  Here  they  may 
live  in  comfort,  when  given  their  natural 
food,  while  the  children  observe  their 
interesting  ways.  The  ants'  nest  and  the 
observation  hive  yield  fascinating  views 
of  the  marvelous  lives  of  the  insect  so- 
cialists, while  the  cheerful  prisoner  in  the 
bird  cage  may  be  made  a  constant  illus- 
tration of  the  adaptations  and  habits  of 
all  birds.  The  aquaria  for  fishes,  tadpoles, 
and  insects  afford  the  opportunity  for  con- 
tinuous study  of  these  water  creatures  and 
are  a  never-failing  source  of  interest  to  the 
pupils,  while  the  window  garden  may  be 
made  not  only  an  ornament  and  an  aes- 


thetic delight,  but  a  basis  for  interesting 
study  of  plant  growth  and  development. 
A  schoolroom  thus  equipped  is  a  place 
of  delight  as  well  as  enlightenment  to 
the  children.  Once,  a  boy  whose  luxurious 
home  was  filled  with  all  that  money  could 
buy  and  educated  tastes  select,  said  of  a 
little  nature-study  laboratory  which  was 
in  the  unfinished  attic  of  a  school  build- 
ing, but  which  was  teeming  with  life,  "  I 
think  this  is  the  most  beautiful  room  in 
the  world." 

NATURE-STUDY  AND  MUSEUM 
SPECIMENS 

The  matter  of  museum  specimens  is 
another  question  for  the  nature-study 
teacher  to  solve,  and  has  a  direct  bearing 
on  an  attitude  toward  taking  life.  There 
are  many  who  believe  the  stuffed  bird  or 
the  case  of  pinned  insects  have  no  place 
in  nature-study;  and  certainly  these 
should  not  be  the  chief  material.  But 
let  us  use  our  common  sense;  the  boy 
sees  a  bird  in  the  woods  or  field  and  does 
not  know  its  name;  he  seeks  the  bird  in 
the  museum  and  thus  is  able  to  place  it 
and  read  about  it  and  is  stimulated  to 
make  other  observations  concerning  it. 
Wherever  the  museum  is  a  help  to  the 
study  of  life  in  the  field,  it  is  well  and 
good.  Some  teachers  may  give  a  live  les- 
son from  a  stuffed  specimen,  and  other 
teachers  may  stuff  their  pupils  with  facts 
about  a  live  specimen;  of  the  two,  the 
former  is  preferable. 

There  is  no  question  that  making  a  col- 
lection of  insects  is  an  efficient  way  of 
developing  the  child's  powers  of  close 
observation,  as  well  as  of  giving  him  man- 
ual dexterity  in  handling  fragile  things. 
Also  it  is  a  false  sentiment  which  attrib- 
utes to  an  insect  the  same  agony  at  be- 
ing impaled  on  a  pin  that  we  might  suffer 
at  being  thrust  through  by  a  stake.  The 
insect  nervous  system  is  far  more  con- 
veniently arranged  for  such  an  ordeal  than 
ours;  and,  too,  the  cyanide  bottle  brings 
immediate  and  painless  death  to  the  in- 
sects placed  within  it;  moreover,  the  in- 
sects usually  collected  have  short  lives 
anyway.  So  far  as  the  child  is  concerned, 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


Mounted  twigs  and  nuts.  These  may  be  put 
in  the  bottom,  of  a  shallow  box  with  a  sheet  of 
cellophane  pasted  over  the  top 

he  is  thinking  of  his  collection  of  moths 
or  butterflies  and  not  at  all  of  taking  life; 
so  it  is  not  teaching  him  to  wantonly 
destroy  living  creatures.  However,  an  in- 
discriminate encouragement  of  the  mak- 
ing of  insect  collections  cannot  be  ad- 
vised. There  are  some  children  who  will 
profit  by  it  and  some  who  will  not,  and 
unquestionably  the  best  kind  of  study  of 
insects  is  watching  their  interesting  ways 
while  they  live. 

To  kill  a  creature  in  order  to  prepare 
it  for  a  nature-study  lesson  is  not  only 
wrong  but  absurd,  for  nature-study  has  to 
do  with  life  rather  than  death,  and  the 
form  of  any  creature  is  interesting  only 
when  its  adaptations  for  life  are  studied. 
But  again,  a  nature-study  teacher  may  be 
an  opportunist;  if  without  any  volition 
on  her  part  or  the  pupils',  a  freshly  killed 
specimen  comes  to  hand,  she  should 
make  the  most  of  it.  The  writer  remem- 
bers most  illuminating  lessons  from  a  par- 
tridge that  broke  a  window  and  its  neck 


simultaneously  during  its  flight  one  win- 
ter night,  a  yellow  hammer  that  killed 
itself  against  an  electric  wire,  and  a  musk- 
rat  that  turned  its  toes  to  the  skies  for 
no  understandable  reason.  In  each  of 
these  cases  the  creature's  special  physical 
adaptations  for  living  its  own  peculiar  life 
were  studied,  and  the  effect  was  not  the 
study  of  a  dead  thing,  but  of  a  successful 
and  wonderful  life. 

THE  LENS,  MICROSCOPE,  AND  FIELD 
GLASS  AS  HELPS  IN  NATURE-STUDY 
In  elementary  grades,  nature-study 
deals  with  objects  which  the  children  can 
see  with  the  naked  eye.  However,  a  lens 
is  a  help  in  almost  all  of  this  work  be- 
cause it  is  such  a  joy  to  the  child  to  gaze 
at  the  wonders  it  reveals.  There  is  no  les- 
son given  in  this  book  which  requires 
more  than  a  simple  lens  for  seeing  the 
most  minute  parts  discussed.  An  excel- 
lent lens  may  be  bought  for  a  dollar, 
and  a  fairly  good  one  for  fifty  cents  or 
even  twenty-five  cents.  The  lens  should 
be  chained  to  a  table  or  desk  where  it 
may  be  used  by  the  pupils  at  recess.  This 
gives  each  an  opportunity  for  using  it  and 
obviates  the  danger  of  losing  it.  If  the 
pupils  themselves  own  lenses,  they  should 
be  fastened  by  a  string  or  chain  to  the 
pocket. 

A  microscope  has  no  legitimate  part  in 
nature-study.  But  if  there  is  one  available, 
it  reveals  so  many  wonders  in  the  com- 
monest objects  that  it  can  ofttimes  be 


Bausch  &  Lornb  Optical  Co. 

Hand  lenses 


1O 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


Bausch  &  Lomb  Optical  Co. 

A  field  glass 

made  a  source  of  added  interest.  For 
instance,  thus  to  see  the  scales  on  the 
butterfly's  wing  affords  the  child  pleasure 
as  well  as  edification.  Field  or  opera 
glasses,  while  indispensable  for  bird  study, 
are  by  no  means  necessary  in  nature- 
study.  However,  the  pupils  will  show 
greater  interest  in  noting  the  birds'  colors 
if  they  are  allowed  to  make  the  observa- 
tions with  the  help  of  a  glass. 

USES  OF  PICTURES,  CHARTS,  AND 
BLACKBOARD  DRAWINGS 

Pictures  alone  should  never  be  used 
as  the  subjects  for  nature-study  lessons, 
but  they  may  be  of  great  use  in  illustrat- 
ing and  illuminating  a  lesson.  Books  well 
illustrated    are    more    readily    compre- 
hended by  the  child  and  are  often  very 
helpful  to  him,  especially  after  his  inter- 
est in  the  subject  is  thoroughly  aroused. 
If  charts  are  used  to  illustrate  the  lesson, 
the  child  is  likely  to  be  misled  by  the 
size  of  the  drawing,  which  is  also  the  case 
in  blackboard  pictures.  However,  this  er- 
ror may  be  avoided  by  fixing  the  atten- 
tion of  the  pupil  on  the  object  first.  If 
the  pupils  are  studying  the  ladybird  and 
have  it  in  their  hands,  the  teacher  may 
use  a  diagram  representing  the  beetle  as 
a  foot  long  and  it  will  still  convey  the 
idea  accurately;  but  if  she  begins  with 
the  picture,  she  probably  can  never  con- 


vince the  children  that  the  picture  has 
anything  to  do  with  the  insect. 

In  making  blackboard  drawings  illus- 
trative of  the  lesson,  it  is  best,  if  possible, 
to  have  one  of  the  pupils  do  the  drawing 
in  the  presence  of  the  class;  or,  if  the 
teacher  does  the  drawing,  she  should  hold 
the  object  in  her  hand  while  doing  it 
and  look  at  it  often  so  that  the  children 
may  see  that  she  is  trying  to  represent  it 
accurately.  Taking  everything  into  con- 
sideration, however,  nature-study  charts 
and  blackboard  drawings  are  of  little  use 
to  the  nature-study  teacher, 

THE  USES  OF  SCIENTIFIC  NAMES 

Disquieting  problems  relative  to  scien- 
tific nomenclature  always  confront  the 
teacher  of  nature-study.  My  own  practice 
has  been  to  use  the  popular  names  of  spe- 
cies, except  in  cases  where  confusion  might 
ensue,  and  to  use  the  scientific  names  for 
anatomical  parts.  However,  this  matter  is 
of  little  importance  if  the  teacher  bears  in 
mind  that  the  purpose  of  nature-study 
is  to  know  the  subject  under  observation 
and  to  learn  the  name  incidentally. 


Common  tree  frog  or  tree  toad,  Hyla  versi- 
cplor  versicolor.  Another  species,  Hyla  cru- 
cifer,  is  also  often  catted  the  tree  frog  and  tree 
toad.  Common  names,  then}  will  not  distin- 
guish these  amphibians  one  from  another; 
the  scientific  names  must  be  applied 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


If  the  teacher  says,  "  I  have  a  pink  he- 
patica.  Can  anyone  find  me  a  blue  one?  " 
the  children,  who  naturally  like  grownup 
words,  will  soon  be  calling  these  flowers 
hepaticas.  But  if  the  teacher  says,  "  These 
flowers  are  called  hepaticas.  Now  please 
everyone  remember  the  name.  Write  it 
in  your  books  as  I  write  it  on  the  black- 
board, and  in  half  an  hour  I  shall  ask  you 
again  what  it  is,"  the  pupils  naturally  look 
upon  the  exercise  as  a  word  lesson  and  its 
real  significance  is  Ipst.  This  sort  of  nature- 
study  is  dust  and  ashes  and  there  has  been 
too  much  of  it.  The  child  should  never 
be  required  to  learn  the  name  of  any- 
thing in  the  nature-study  work;  but  the 
name  should  be  used  so  often  and  so 
naturally  in  his  presence  that  he  will 
learn  it  without  being  conscious  of  the 
process. 

THE  STORY  AS  A  SUPPLEMENT  TO 
THE  NATURE-STUDY  LESSON 

Many  of  the  subjects  for  nature  lessons 
can  be  studied  only  in  part,  since  but  one 
phase  may  be  available  at  the  time.  Often, 
especially  if  there  is  little  probability  that 
the  pupils  will  find  opportunity  to  com- 
plete the  study,  it  is  best  to  round  out 
their  knowledge  by  reading  or  telling  the 
story  to  supplement  the  facts  which  they 
have  discovered  for  themselves.  This 
story  should  not  be  told  as  a  finality  or 
as  a  complete  picture  but  as  a  guide  and 
inspiration  for  further  study.  Always 
leave  at  the  end  of  the  story  an  interroga- 
tion mark  that  will  remain  aggressive  and 
insistent  in  the  child's  mind.  To  illus- 
trate: Once  a  club  of  junior  naturalists 
brought  me  rose  leaves  injured  by  the  leaf- 
cutter  bee  and  asked  me  why  the  leaves 
were  cut  out  so  regularly.  I  told  them  the 
story  of  the  use  made  by  the  mother  bee 
of  these  oval  and  circular  bits  of  leaves 
and  made  the  account  as  vital  as  I  was 
able;  but  at  the  end  I  said,  "  I  do  not 
know  which  species  of  bee  cut  these 
leaves.  She  is  living  here  among  us  and 
building  her  nest  with  your  rose  leaves, 
which  she  is  cutting  every  day  almost 
under  your  very  eyes.  Is  she  then  so 


11 

much  more  clever  than  you  that  you  can- 
not see  her  or  find  her  nest?  "  For  two 
years  following  this  lesson  I  received  let- 
ters from  members  of  this  club.  Two  car- 
penter bees  and  their  nests  were  discov- 
ered by  them  and  studied  before  the 
mysterious  leaf-cutter  was  finally  ferreted 


The  leaf-cutter  bee 

out.  My  story  had  left  something  inter- 
esting for  the  young  naturalists  to  dis- 
cover. The  children  should  be  impressed 
with  the  fact  that  the  nature  story  is 
never  finished.  There  is  not  a  weed  or 
an  insect  or  a  tree  so  common  that  the 
child,  by  observing  carefully,  may  not  see 
things  never  yet  recorded  in  scientific 
books;  therefore  the  supplementary  story 
should  be  made  an  inspiration  for  keener 
interest  and  further  investigation  on  the 
part  of  the  pupil.  The  supplementary 
story  simply  thrusts  aside  some  of  the 
obscuring  underbrush,  thus  revealing 
more  plainly  the  path  to  further  knowl- 
edge. 


THE  NATURE-STUDY  ATTITUDE 
TOWARD  LIFE  AXD  DEATH 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 

but  become  a  vegetarian,  and  even  then 
there  might  arise  refinements  in  this  ques- 
tion of  taking  life;  she  might  have  to  con- 
Perhaps  no  greater  danger  besets  the      sider  the  cruelty  to  asparagus  in  cutting 
pathwav  of  the  natuie-studv  teacher  than      it  off  in  plump  infancy,  or  the  ethics  of 
he  question  involved  in  her  pupils7  atti-      devouring  in  the  turnip  the  food  laid  up 
tude  toward  life  and  death.  To  inculcate      by  the  mother  plant  to  perfect  her  seed. 

In  fact,  a  most  rigorous  diet  would  be 
forced  upon  the  teacher  who  should  re- 
fuse to  sustain  her  own  existence  at  the 
cost  of  life;  and  if  she  should  attempt  to 


in  the  child  a  reverence  for  life  and  yet 
to  keep  him  from  becoming  mawkish 
and  morbid  is  truly  a  problem.  It  is  al- 
most inevitable  that  the  child  should  be- 
come sympathetic  with  the  life  of  the 
animal  or  plant  studied,  since  a  true  un- 
derstanding of  the  life  of  any  creature 
creates  an  interest  which  stimulates  a  de- 


teach  the  righteousness  of  such  a  diet 
she  would  undoubtedly  forfeit  her  posi- 
tion; and  yet  what  is  she  to  do!  She  will 
soon  find  herself  in  the  position  of  a  cer- 


V-iV-aiA-a  a.*!   JLIJ.I_V*J.V*<OI,    »>  4.**^**   kjtj.j.*^^.^-.-^-    — * 

sire  to  protect  this  particular  creature  and      tain  lady  who  placed  sheets  of  sticky  tty- 

.         i  . /•      i  •»  i     •*.    r  .  •  _  "iT     *__  —,-..r^^»-  st*-xMi<t-t.ir[    T~»/3-r  "Ir-!+T»T*l/an    f1/^    Tirl    Tlf»r    M  mi  Qf* 


make  its  life  less  hard.  Many  times,  within 
my  own  experience,  have  I  known  boys, 
who  began  by  robbing  birds'  nests  for 
egg  collections,  to  end  by  becoming  most 
zealous  protectors  of  the  birds.  The  hu- 
mane qualities  within  these  boys  budded 
and  blossomed  in  the  growing  knowledge 
of  the  lives  of  the  birds.  At  Cornell  Uni- 
versity, it  is  a  well-known  fact  that  those 
students  who  turn  aside  so  as  not  to  crush 
the  ant,  caterpillar,  or  cricket  on  the  pave- 
ment are  almost  invariably  those  that  are 
studying  entomology7;  and  in  America  it 
is  the  botanists  themselves  who  are  lead- 
ing the  crusade  for  flower  protection. 

Thus,  the  nature-study  teacher,  if  she 
does  her  work  well,  is  a  sure  aid  in  in- 
culcating a  respect  for  the  rights  of  all 
living  beings  to  their  own  lives;  and  she 
needs  only  to  lend  her  influence  gently 
in  this  direction  to  change  carelessness 
to  thoughtfulness  and  cruelty  to  kindness. 
But  with  this  impetus  toward  a  reverence 
for  life,  the  teacher  soon  finds  herself  in 
a  dilemma  from  which  there  is  no  logical 
way  out,  so  long  as  she  lives  in  a  world 
where  Iamb  chop,  beefsteak,  and  roast 
chicken  are  articles  of  ordinary  diet;  a 
world  in  fact,  where  every  meal  is  based 
upon  the  death  of  some  creature.  For  if 
she  places  much  emphasis  upon  the  sa- 
credness  of  life,  the  children  soon  begin  to 
question  whether  it  be  right  to  slay  the 
lamb  or  the  chicken  for  their  own  food. 
It  would  seem  that  there  is  nothing  for 
the  consistent  nature-study  teacher  to  do 


paper  around  her  kitchen  to  rid  her  house 
of  flies,  and  then  in  mental  anguish  picked 
off  the  buzzing,  struggling  victims  and 
sought  to  clean  their  too  adhesive  wings 
and  legs. 

In  fact,  drawing  the  line  between  what 
to  kill  and  what  to  let  live  requires  the 
use  of  common  sense  rather  than  logic. 
First  of  all,  the  nature-study  teacher,  while 
exemplifying  and  encouraging  the  hu- 
mane attitude  toward  the  lower  creatures, 
and  repressing  cruelty  which  wantonly 
causes  suffering,  should  never  magnify 
the  terrors  of  death.  Death  is  as  natural 
as  life  and  is  the  inevitable  end  of  physical 
life  on  our  globe.  Therefore,  every  story 
and  every  sentiment  expressed  which 
makes  the  child  feel  that  death  is  terrible 
is  wholly  wrong.  The  one  right  way  to 
teach  about  death  is  not  to  emphasize  it 
one  way  or  another,  but  to  deal  with  it 
as  a  circumstance  common  to  all;  it  should 
be  no  more  emphasized  than  the  fact  that 
creatures  eat  or  fall  asleep. 

Another  thing  for  the  nature-study 
teacher  to  do  is  to  direct  the  interest  of 
the  child  so  that  it  shall  center  upon  the 
hungry  creature  rather  than  upon  the  one 
which  is  made  into  the  meal.  It  is  well 
to  emphasize  that  one  of  the  conditions 
imposed  upon  every  living  being  in  the 
woods  and  fields  is  that  if  it  is  clever 
enough  to  get  a  meal  it  is  entitled  to  one 
when  it  is  hungry.  The  child  naturally 
takes  this  view  of  it.  I  remember  well 
that  as  a  child  I  never  thought  particu- 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


larly  about  the  mouse  which  my  cat 
was  eating;  in  fact,  the  process  of  trans- 
muting mouse  into  cat  seemed  altogether 
proper,  but  when  the  cat  played  with  the 
mouse,  that  was  quite  another  thing,  and 
was  never  permitted.  Although  no  one  ap- 
preciates more  deeply  than  I  the  debt 
which  we  owe  to  Thompson  Seton  and 
writers  of  his  kind,  who  have  placed  be- 
fore the  public  the  animal  story  from  the 
animal  point  of  view  and  thus  set  us  all 
to  thinking,  yet  it  is  certainly  wrong  to 
impress  this  view  too  strongly  upon  the 
young  and  sensitive  child.  In  fact,  this 
process  should  not  begin  until  the  judg- 
ment and  the  understanding  are  well  de- 
veloped, for  we  all  know  that  although 
seeing  the  other  fellow's  standpoint  is  a 
source  of  strength  and  breadth  of  mind, 
yet  living  the  other  fellow7s  life  is,  at 
best,  an  enfeebling  process  and  a  futile 
waste  of  energy. 

SHOULD  THE  NATURE-STUDY  TEACHER 
TEACH  How  TO  DESTROY  LIFE? 

It  is  probably  within  the  proper  scope 
of  the  nature-study  teacher  to  place  em- 
phasis upon  the  domain  of  man,  who,  be- 
ing the  most  powerful  of  all  animals,  as- 
serts his  will  as  to  which  ones  shall  live  in 
his  midst.  From  a  standpoint  of  abstract 
justice,  the  stray  cat  has  just  as  much 
right  to  kill  and  eat  the  robin  which 
builds  in  the  vine  of  my  porch  as  the 
robin  has  to  pull  and  eat  the  earth- 
worms from  my  lawn;  but  the  place  is 
mine,  and  I  choose  to  kill  the  cat  and  pre- 
serve the  robin. 

When  emphasizing  the  domain  of 
man,  we  may  have  to  deal  with  the  kill- 
ing of  creatures  which  are  injurious  to 
his  interests.  Nature-study  may  be  tribu- 
tary to  this,  in  a  measure  and  indirectly, 
but  the  study  of  this  question  is  surely 
not  nature-study.  For  example,  the  child 
studies  the  cabbage  butterfly  in  all  its 
stages,  the  exquisitely  sculptured  yellow 
egg,  the  velvety  green  caterpillar,  the 
chrysalis  with  its  protecting  colors,  the 
white-winged  butterfly,  and  becomes  in- 
terested in  the  life  of  the  insect.  Not 
under  any  consideration,  when  the  atten- 


tion of  the  child  is  focused  on  the  insect, 
should  we  suggest  a  remedy  for  it  when 
it  becomes  a  pest.  Let  the  life  story  of  the 
butterfly  stand  as  a  fascinating  page  of 
nature's  book.  But  later,  when  the  child 
enters  on  his  career  as  a  gardener,  when 
he  sets  out  his  row  of  cabbage  plants  and 
waters  and  cultivates  them,  and  does  his 
best  to  bring  them  to  maturity,  along 
conies  the  butterfly,  now  an  arch  enemy, 
and  begins  to  rear  her  progeny  on  the 
product  of  his  toil.  Now  the  child's  in- 
terest is  focused  on  the  cabbage,  and  the 
question  is  not  one  of  killing  insects  so 
much  as  of  saving  plants.  In  fact  there  is 
nothing  in  spraying  the  plants  with  Paris 
green  which  suggests  cruelty  to  innocent 
caterpillars,  nor  is  the  process  likely  to 
harden  the  child's  sensibilities. 

To  gain  knowledge  of  the  life  stow  of 
insects  or  other  creatures  is  nature-study. 
To  destroy  them  as  pests  is  a  part  of  agri- 
culture or  horticulture.  The  one  may  be 
of  fundamental  assistance  to  the  other, 
but  the  two  are  quite  separate  and  should 
never  be  confused. 

THE  FIELD  NOTEBOOK 

A  field  notebook  may  be  made  a  joy 
to  the  pupil  and  a  help  to  the  teacher. 
Any  kind  of  blank  book  will  do  for  this, 
except  that  it  should  not  be  too  large  to 
be  carried  in  the  pocket,  and  it  should 
always  have  the  pencil  attached.  To  make 
the  notebook  a  success  the  following  rules 
should  be  observed: 

(a)  The  book  should  be  considered 
the  personal  property  of  the  child  and 
should  never  be  criticized  by  the  teacher 
except  as  a  matter  of  encouragement;  for 
the  spirit  in  which  the  notes  are  made  is 
more   important  than   the   information 
they  cover. 

(b)  The  making  of  drawings  to  illus- 
trate what  is  observed  should  be  encour- 
aged. A  graphic  drawing  is  far  better  than 
a  long  description  of  a  natural  object. 

(c)  The  notebook  should  not  be  re- 
garded as  a  part  of  the  work  in  English. 
The  spelling,  language,  and  writing  of  the 
notes  should  all  be  exempt  from  criticism. 

(d)  As  occasion  offers,  outlines  for  ob- 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


.  a.73. 


297 


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3- 


To 


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A  page  from  the  field  notebook  of  a  boy  of  fourteen  who  read  Thoreau  and  admired  the  books 

of  Ernest  Thompson  Seton 


serving  certain  plants  or  animals  may  be 
placed  in  the  notebook  previous  to  the 
field  excursion  so  as  to  give  definite  points 
for  the  work. 

(e)  No  child  should  be  compelled  to 
have  a  notebook. 

The  field  notebook  is  a  veritable  gold 
mine  for  the  nature-study  teacher  to  work. 


in  securing  voluntary  and  happy  observa- 
tions from  the  pupils  concerning  their 
out-of-door  interests.  It  is  a  friendly  gate 
which  admits  the  teacher  to  a  knowledge 
of  what  the  child  sees  and  cares  for. 
Through  it  she  may  discover  where  the 
child's  attention  impinges  upon  the 
realm  of  nature  and  thus  may  know 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


A  brook  in  winter 

where  to  find  the  starting  point  for  cul- 
tivating larger  intelligence  and  wider  in- 
terest. 

I  have  examined  many  field  notebooks 
kept  by  pupils  in  the  intermediate  grades 
and  have  been  surprised  at  their  pleni- 
tude of  accurate  observation  and  graphic 
illustration.  These  books  ranged  from 
blank  account  books  furnished  by  the 
family  grocer  up  to  a  quarto,  the  pages  of 
which  were  adorned  with  many  marginal 
illustrations  made  in  passionate  admira- 
tion of  Thompson  Seton's  books  and 
filled  with  carefully  transcribed  text  that 
showed  the  direct  influence  of  Thoreau. 
These  books,  of  whatever  quality,  are  pre- 
cious beyond  price  to  their  owners.  And 
why  not?  For  they  represent  what  cannot 
be  bought  or  sold,  personal  experience  in 
the  happy  world  of  out-of-doors. 

THE  FIELD  EXCURSION 
Many  teachers  look  upon  the  field  ex- 
cursion as  a  precarious  voyage,  steered  be- 
tween the  Scylla  of  hilarious  seeing  too 
much  and  the  Charybdis  of  seeing  noth- 
ing at  all  because  of  the  zest  which  comes 
from  freedom  in  the  fields  and  wood. 
This  danger  can  be  obviated  if  the  teacher 
plans  the  work  definitely  before  starting, 
and  demands  certain  results. 

It  is  a  mistake  to  think  that  a  half  day 
is  necessary  for  a  field  lesson,  since  a  very 


efficient  field  trip  may  be  made  during  the 
ten  or  fifteen  minutes  at  recess,  If  it  is~well 
planned.  Certain  questions  and  lines  of 
investigation  should  be  given  the  pupils 

before  starting  and  given  in  such  a  man- 
ner as  to  make  them  thoroughly  inter- 
ested in  discovering  the  facts  ^  A  "certain 

teacher  in  New  York  State  lias  studied  all 
the  common  plants  and  trees  in  the  vi- 
cinity- of  her  school  by  means  of  these  re- 
cess excursions  and  the  pupils  have  been 
enthusiastic  about  the  work. 

The  half-hour  excursion  should  be  pre- 
ceded by  a  talk  concerning  the  purposes 
of  the  outing  and  the  pupils  must  know 
that  certain  observations  are  to  be  made 
or  they  will  not  be  permitted  to  go  again. 
This  should  not  be  emphasized  as  a  pun- 
ishment; but  they  should  be  made  to  un- 
derstand that  a  field  excursion  is  only, 
naturally  enough,  for  those  who  wish  to 
see  and  understand  outdoor  life.  For  all 
field  work,  the  teacher  should  make  use 
of  the  field  notebook  which  should  be 
a  part  of  the  pupils"  equipment. 

PETS  AS  NATURE-STUDY  SUBJECTS 
Little  attention  has  been  given  to  mak- 
ing the  child  understand  what  would  be 
the  lives  of  his  pets  if  they  were  in  their 
native  environment,  or  to  relating  their 
habits  and  lives  as  wild  animals.  Almost 
any  pet,  if  properly  observed,  affords  an 
admirable  opportunity  for  understanding 
the  reasons  why  its  structure  and  peculiar 
habits  may  have  made  it  successful  among 
other  creatures  and  in  other  lands. 
Moreover.,  the  actions  and  the  daily 


W.  J.  Hamilton,  Jr. 


Young  woodchucks 


i6 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


life  of  the  pet  make  interesting  subject 
matter  for  a  notebook.  The  lessons  on 
the  dog,  rabbit  and  horse  as  given  in  this 
volume  may  suggest  methods  for  such 
stud}',  and  with  apologies  that  it  is  not 
better  and  more  interesting,  I  have  placed 
with  the  story  of  the  squirrel  a  few  pages 
from  one  of  my  own  notebooks  regard- 
ing my  experiences  with  "  Furry."  I  in- 
clude this  record  as  a  suggestion  for  the 
children  that  they  should  keep  notebooks 
of  their  pets.  It  will  lead  them  to  closer 
observation  and  to  a  better  and  more  nat- 
ural expression  of  their  experiences. 

THE  CORRELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
WITH  LANGUAGE  WORK 

Nature-study  should  be  so  much  a  part 
of  the  child's  thought  and  interest  that  it 
will  naturally  form  a  thought  core  for 
other  subjects  quite  unconsciously  on  his 
part.  In  fact,  there  is  one  safe  rule  for  cor- 
relation in  this  case  —  it  is  legitimate  and 
excellent  training  as  long  as  the  pupil  does 
not  discover  that  he  is  correlating.  But 
there  is  something  in  human  nature  which 
revolts  against  doing  one  thing  to  accom- 
plish quite  another.  A  boy  once  said  to 
me,  "  I'd  rather  never  go  on  a  field  ex- 
cursion than  to  have  to  write  it  up  for 
English/'  a  sentiment  I  sympathized  with 
keenly;  ulterior  motive  is  sickening  to  the 
honest  spirit.  But  if  that  same  boy  had 
been  a  member  of  a  field  class  and  had  en- 
joyed all  the  new  experiences  and  had 
witnessed  the  interesting  things  discov- 
ered on  this  excursion,  and  if  later  his 
teacher  had  asked  him  to  write  for  her 
an  account  of  some  part  of  it,  because 
she  wished  to  know  what  he  had  discov- 
ered, the  chances  are  that  he  would  have 
written  his  story  joyfully  and  with  a 
certain  pride  that  would  have  counted 
much  for  achievement  in  word  expres- 
sion. 

When  Mr.  John  Spencer,  known  to  so 
many  children  in  New  York  State  as 
"  Uncle  John,"  was  conducting  the  Junior 
Naturalist  Clubs,  the  teachers  allowed 
letters  to  him  to  count  for  language  ex- 
ercises; and  the  eagerness  with  which 


these  letters  were  written  should  have 
given  the  teachers  the  key  to  the  proper 
method  of  teaching  English.  Mr.  Spencer 
requested  the  teachers  not  to  correct  the 
letters,  because  he  wished  the  children 
to  be  thinking  about  the  subject  matter 
rather  than  the  form  of  expression.  But 
so  anxious  were  many  of  the  pupils  to 
make  their  letters  perfect  that  they  ear- 
nestly requested  their  teachers  to  help 
them  write  correctly,  which  was  an  ideal 
condition  for  teaching  them  English. 
Writing  letters  to  Uncle  John  was  such 
a  joy  to  the  pupils  that  it  was  used  as  a 
privilege  and  a  reward  of  merit  in  many 
schools.  One  rural  teacher  reduced  the 
percentage  of  tardiness  to  a  minimum  by 
giving  the  first  period  in  the  morning  to 
the  work  in  English  which  consisted  of 
letters  to  Uncle  John. 

Why  do  pupils  dislike  writing  English 
exercises?  Simply  because  they  are  not 
interested  in  the  subject  they  are  asked 
to  write  about,  and  they  know  that  the 
teacher  is  not  interested  in  the  informa- 
tion contained  in  the  essay.  But  when 
they  are  interested  in  the  subject  and 
write  about  it  to  a  person  who  is  inter- 
ested, the  conditions  are  entirely  changed. 
If  the  teacher,  overwhelmed  as  she  is  by 
work  and  perplexities,  could  only  keep  in 
mind  that  the  purpose  of  a  language  is, 
after  all,  merely  to  convey  ideas,  some  of 
her  perplexities  would  fade  away.  A  con- 
veyance naturally  should  be  fitted  for  the 
load  it  is  to  carry,  and  if  the  pupil  ac- 
quires the  load  first  he  is  very  likely  to 
construct  a  conveyance  that  will  be  ade- 
quate. How  often  the  conveyance  is  made 
perfect  through  much  effort  and  polished 
through  agony  of  spirit  and  the  load  en- 
tirely forgotten! 

Nature-study  lessons  give  much  excel- 
lent subject  matter  for  stories  and  essays, 
but  these  essays  should  never  be  criticized 
or  defaced  with  the  blue  pencil.  They 
should  be  read  with  interest  by  the 
teacher;  the  mistakes  made  in  them,  so 
transformed  as  to  be  unrecognizable,  may 
be  used  for  drill  exercises  in  grammatical 
construction.  After  all,  grammar  and  spell- 
ing are  only  gained  by  practice  and  there 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


is  no  royal  road  leading  to  their  acquire- 
ment. 

THE  CORRELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
AND  DRAWING 

The  correlation  of  nature-study  and 
drawing  is  so  natural  and  inevitable  that 
it  needs  never  be  revealed  to  the  pupil. 
When  the  child  is  interested  in  studying 
any  object,  he  enjoys  illustrating  his  ob- 
servations with  drawings;  the  happy  ab- 

r " ~~' 


A  mounted  fern.  A  pressed  dry  fern  placed 
on  a  layer  of  cotton  batting  backed  by  card- 
board  is  covered  with  a  sheet  of  cellophane 
and  is  slipped  into  an  envelope  from  which  a 
panel  has  been  cut 

sorption  of  children  thus  engaged  is  a 
delight  to  witness.  At  its  best,  drawing  is 
a  perfectly  natural  method  of  self-expres- 
sion. The  savage  and  the  young  child, 
both  untutored,  seek  to  express  them- 
selves and  their  experiences  by  this  means. 
It  is  only  when  the  object  to  be  drawn 
is  foreign  to  the  interest  of  the  child  that 
drawing  is  a  task. 

Nature-study  offers  the  best  means  for 
bridging  the  gap  that  lies  between  the 


kindergarten  child  who  makes  drawings 
because  he  loves  to  and  is  impelled  to 
from  within,  and  the  pupil  in  the  grades 
who  is  obliged  to  draw  what  the  teacher 
places  before  him.  From  making  crude 
and  often  meaningless  pencil  strokes, 
which  is  the  entertainment  of  the  voting 
child,  to  the  outlining  of  a  leaf  or  some 
other  simple  and  interesting  natural  ob- 
ject is  a  normal  step  full  of  interest  for 
the  child  because  it  is  still  self-expression. 

Miss  Man"  E.  Hill,  formerly  of  the 
Goodyear  School  of  Syracuse,  s;ave  each 
year  an  exhibition  of  the  drawings  made 
by  the  children  in  the  nature-study  classes; 
and  these  were  universally  so  excellent 
that  most  people  regarded  them  as  an 
exhibition  from  the  art  department;  and 
yet  many  of  these  pupils  never  had  had 
lessons  in  drawing.  They  had  learned  to 
draw  because  they  liked  to  make  pictures 
of  the  living  objects  which  they  had 
studied.  One  year  there  were  in  this  ex- 
hibit many  pictures  of  toads  in  various 
stages,  and  although  their  anatomy  was 
sometimes  awry  in  the  pictures,  yet  there 
was  a  certain  vivid  expression  of  life  in 
their  representation;  one  felt  that  the 
toads  could  jump.  Miss  Hill  allowed  the 
pupils  to  choose  their  own  medium,  pen- 
cil, crayon,  or  water  color,  and  said  that 
they  seemed  to  feel  which  was  best.  For 
instance,  when  drawing  the  outline  of 
trees  in  winter  they  chose  pencil,  but  when 
representing  the  trill iuni  or  iris  they  pre- 
ferred the  water  color,  while  for  bitter- 
sweet and  crocuses  they  chose  the  colored 
crayons. 

It  is  through  this  method  of  drawing 
that  which  interests  him  that  the  child 
retains  and  keeps  as  his  own  what  should 
be  an  inalienable  right,  a  graphic  method 
of  expressing  his  own  impressions.  Too 
much  have  we  emphasized  drawing  as  art 
art;  it  may  be  an  art,  if  the  one  who  draws 
is  an  artist;  but  if  he  is  not  an  artist,  he 
still  has  a  right  to  draw  if  it  pleases  him 
to  do  so.  We  might  as  well  declare  that 
a  child  should  not  speak  unless  he  put 
his  words  into  poetry,  as  to  declare  that 
he  should  not  draw  because  his  drawings 
are  not  artistic. 


i8 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


THE  CORRELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
WITH  GEOGRAPHY 

Life  depends  upon  its  environment. 
Geographical  conditions  and  limitations 
have  shaped  the  mold  into  which  plastic 
life  has  been  poured  and  by  which  its 
form  has  been  modified.  It  may  be  easy 
for  the  untrained  mind  to  see  how  the 
deserts  and  oceans  affect  life.  Cattle  may 
not  roam  in  the  former  because  there  is 


U.  S.  Geological  Survey  —  Photo  by  W.  G.  Pierce 

A  meandering  stream 

nothing  there  for  them  to  eat,  nor  may 
they  occupy  the  latter  because  they  are 
not  fitted  for  breathing  air  in  the  water. 
And  yet  the  camel  can  endure  thirst  and 
live  on  the  scant  food  of  the  desert;  and 
the  whale  is  a  mammal  fitted  to  live  in 
the  sea.  The  question  is,  how  are  we  to 
impress  the  child  with  the  "  have  to " 
which  lies  behind  all  these  geographical 
facts?  If  animals  live  in  the  desert  they 
have  to  subsist  on  scant  and  peculiar  food 
which  grows  there;  they  have  to  get  along 
with  little  water;  they  have  to  endure  heat 
and  sand  storms;  they  have  to  have  eyes 
that  will  not  become  blinded  by  the  vivid 
reflection  of  the  sunlight  on  the  sand;  they 
have  to  be  of  sand  color  so  that  they  may 
escape  the  eyes  of  their  enemies  or  creep 
upon  their  prey  unperceived. 

All  these  "  have  to's "  are  not  mere 
chance,  but  they  have  existed  so  long  that 
the  animal,  by  constantly  coming  in  con- 
tact with  them,  has  attained  its  present 
form  and  habits. 

There  are  just  as  many  "  have  to's "  in 
the  stream  or  the  pond  back  of  the  school- 
house,  on  the  dry  hillside  behind  it,  or 
in  the  woods  beyond  the  creek  as  there 
are  in  desert  or  ocean;  and  when  the  child 


gets  an  inkling  of  this  fact,  he  has  made 
a  great  step  into  the  realm  of  geography. 
When  he  realizes  why  water  lilies  can 
grow  only  in  still  water  that  is  not  too 
deep  and  which  has  a  silt  bottom,  and 
why  the  cattails  grow  in  swamps  where 
there  is  not  too  much  water,  and  why  the 
mullein  grows  in  the  dry  pasture,  and 
why  the  hepatica  thrives  in  the  rich, 
damp  woods,  and  why  the  daisies  grow 
in  the  meadows,  he  will  understand  that 
this  partnership  of  nature  and  geography 
illustrates  the  laws  which  govern  life. 
Many  phases  of  physical  geography  be- 
long to  the  realm  of  nature-study:  the 
brook,  its  course,  its  work  of  erosion  and 
sedimentation;  the  rocks  of  many  kinds, 
the  soil,  the  climate,  the  weather,  are  all 
legitimate  subjects  for  nature-study  les- 
sons. 

THE  CORRELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
WITH  HISTORY 

There  are  many  points  where  nature- 
study  impinges  upon  history  in  a  way 
that  may  prove  the  basis  for  an  inspiring 
lesson.  Many  of  our  weeds,  cultivated 
plants,  and  domestic  animals  have  been 
introduced  from  Europe  and  are  a  part  of 
our  colonial  history;  while  many  of  the 
most  commonly  seen  creatures  have  played 
their  part  in  the  history  of  ancient  times. 
For  instance,  the  bees  which  gave  to  man 
the  only  means  available  to  him  for  sweet- 
ening his  food  until  the  iyth  century,  were 
closely  allied  to  the  home  life  of  ancient 
peoples.  The  buffalo  which  ranged  our 
western  plains  had  much  to  do  with  the 
life  of  the  red  man.  The  study  of  the  grass- 
hopper brings  to  the  child's  attention 
stories  of  the  locusts'  invasion  mentioned 
in  the  Bible,  and  the  stars  which  witnessed 
our  creation  and  of  which  Job  sang  and 
the  ancients  wrote,  shine  over  our  heads 
every  night. 

But  the  trees,  through  the  lengthy  span 
of  their  lives,  cover  more  history  individu- 
ally than  do  other  organisms.  In  glancing 
across  the  wood-covered  hills  of  New 
York  one  often  sees  there,  far  above  the 
other  trees,  the  gaunt  crowns  of  old  white 
pines.  Such  trees  belonged  to  the  forest 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


primeval  and  may  have  attained  the  age 
of  two  centuries;  they  stand  there  look- 
ing out  over  the  world,  relics  of  another 
age  when  America  belonged  to  the  red 
man,  and  the  bear  and  the  panther  played 
or  fought  beneath  them.  The  cedars  live 


The  Arnold  Arboretum 

The  Endicott  pear  tree.  This  tree  was 
planted  by  Governor  John  Endicott  in  his 
garden  in  Salem,  Massachusetts,  in  1630. 
George  Washington,  Abraham  Lincoln,  and 
Daniel  Webster  enjoyed  the  fruit  of  this 
patriarchal  tree.  Sprouts,  shown  above,  from 
the  old  tree  still  bear 

longer  than  do  the  pines,  and  the  great 
scarlet  oak  may  have  attained  the  age  of 
four  centuries  before  it  yields  to  fate. 

Perhaps  in  no  other  way  can  the  atten- 
tion of  the  pupil  be  turned  so  naturally 
to  past  events  as  through  the  thought 
that  the  life  of  such  a  tree  has  spanned 
so  much  of  human  history.  The  life  his- 
tory of  one  of  these  ancient  trees  should 
be  made  the  center  of  local  history;  let 
the  pupils  find  when  the  town  was  first 
settled  by  the  whites  and  where  they  came 
from,  and  how  large  the  tree  was  then; 
what  Indian  tribes  roamed  the  woods  be- 
fore that  and  what  animals  were  common 
in  the  forest  when  this  tree  was  a  sapling. 
Thus  may  be  brought  out  the  chief  events 
in  the  history  of  the  county  and  town- 
ship, when  they  were  established  and  for 


whom  or  what  they  were  named;  and  a 
comparison  of  the  present  industries  may 
be  made  with  those  of  a  hundred  years 
ago. 

THE  CORRELATION  OF  NATURE-STUDY 
WITH  ARITHMETIC 

The  arithmetical  problems  presented 
by  nature-study  are  many;  some  of  them 
are  simple  and  some  of  them  are  com- 
plicated, and  all  of  them  are  illuminating. 
Seed  distribution  especially  lends  itself  to 
computation;  a  milkweed  pod  contains 
140  seeds;  there  are  five  such  pods  on 
one  plant;  each  milkweed  plant  requires 
at  least  one  square  foot  of  ground  to  grow 
on;  how  much  ground  would  be  required 
to  grow  all  of  the  seeds  from  this  one 
plant?  Or,  count  the  seeds  in  one  dande- 
lion head,  multiply  by  the  number  of 
flower  heads  on  the  plant  and  estimate 
how  many  plants  can  grow  on  a  square 
foot,  then  ask  a  boy  how  long  it  would 
take  for  one  dandelion  plant  to  cover  his 


™i 


W.  C.  Muenscher 

A  red  cedar  and  its  seedlings 

father's  farm  with  its  progeny;  or  count 
the  blossoms  on  one  branch  of  an  apple 
tree,  later  count  the  ripened  fruit;  what 
percentage  of  blossoms  matured  into  fruit? 
Measuring  trees,  their  height  and  thick- 
ness and  computing  the  lumber  they  will 
make  combines  arithmetic  and  geometry, 
and  so  on  ad  infinitum. 


2o  THE  TEACHING  OF 

As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  teacher  will 
find  in  almost  every  nature  lesson  an 
arithmetic  lesson;  and  when  arithmetic 
is  used  in  this  work,  it  should  be  vital  and 
inherent  and  not  "  tacked  on  ";  the  pu- 
pils should  be  really  interested  in  the  an- 
swers to  their  problems;  and  as  with  all 
correlation,  the  success  of  it  depends  upon 
the  genius  of  the  teacher. 

GARDENING  AND  NATURE-STUDY 
Erroneously,  some  people  maintain 
that  gardening  is  nature-study;  this  is  not 
so  necessarily  nor  ordinarily.  Gardening 
may  be  a  basis  for  nature-study,  but  it  is 
rarely  made  so  to  any  great  extent.  Even 
the  work  in  children's  gardens  is  so  con- 
ducted that  the  pupils  know  little  or 
nothing  of  the  flowers  or  vegetables  which 
they  grow  except  their  names,  their  uses 
to  man,  and  how  to  cultivate  them.  They 
are  taught  how  to  prepare  the  soil,  but 
the  reason  for  this  from  the  plant's  stand- 
point is  never  revealed;  and  if  the  child 
becomes  acquainted  with  the  plants  in 
his  garden,  he  makes  the  discovery  by 
himself.  All  this  is  nothing  against  gar- 
dening! It  is  a  wholesome  and  valuable 
experience  for  a  child  to  learn  how  to 
make  a  garden  even  if  he  remains  ignorant 
of  the  interesting  facts  concerning  the 
plants  which  he  there  cultivates.  But  if 
the  teachers  are  so  inclined,  they  may 
find  in  the  garden  and  its  products  the 
most  interesting  material  for  the  best  of 
nature  lessons.  Every  plant  the  child 
grows  is  an  individual  with  its  own  pe- 
culiarities as  well  as  those  of  its  species 
in  manner  of  growth.  Its  roots,  stems,  and 
leaves  are  of  certain  form  and  structure; 
and  often  the  special  uses  to  the  plant  of 
its  own  kind  of  leaves,  stems,  and  roots 
are  obvious.  Each  plant  has  its  own  form 
of  flower  and  even  its  own  tricks  for  se- 
curing pollination;  and  its  own  manner  of 
developing  and  scattering  its  seeds.  Every 
weed  of  the  garden  has  developed  some 
special  method  of  winning  and  holding 
its  place  among  the  cultivated  plants;  and 
in  no  other  way  can  the  child  so  fully 
and  naturally  come  into  a  comprehension 
of  that  term  "  the  survival  of  the  fittest " 


NATURE-STUDY 

as  by  studying  the  ways  of  the  fit  as  exem- 
plified in  the  triumphant  weeds  of  his 
garden. 

Every  earthworm  working  below  the 
soil  is  doing  something  for  the  garden. 
Every  bee  that  visits  the  flowers  there  is 
on  an  errand  for  the  garden  as  well  as  for 
herself.  Every  insect  feeding  on  leaf  or 
root  is  doing  something  to  the  garden. 
Every  bird  that  nests  near  by  or  that  ever 
visits  it,  is  doing  something  which  affects 
the  life  and  the  growth  of  the  garden. 
What  all  of  these  uninvited  guests  are 
doing  is  one  field  of  garden  nature-study. 
Aside  from  all  this  study  of  individual 
life  in  the  garden,  which  even  the  young- 
est child  may  take  part  in,  there  are  the 
more  advanced  lessons  on  the  soil.  What 
kind  of  soil  is  it?  From  what  sort  of  rock 
was  it  formed?  What  renders  it  mellow 
and  fit  for  the  growing  of  plants?  More- 
over, what  do  the  plants  get  from  it?  How 
do  they  get  it?  What  do  they  do  with 
what  they  get? 

This  leads  to  the  subject  of  plant  physi- 
ology, the  elements  of  which  may  be 
taught  simply  by  experiments  carried  on 
by  the  children  themselves,  experiments 
which  should  demonstrate  the  sap  cur- 
rents in  the  plant;  the  use  of  water  to 


carry  food  and  to  make  the  plant  rigid; 
the  use  of  sunshine  in  making  the  plant 
food  in  the  leaf  laboratories;  the  nourish- 
ment provided  for  the  seed  and  its  germi- 
nation, and  many  other  similar  lessons. 

A  child  who  makes  a  garden,  and  thus 
becomes  intimate  with  the  plants  he  cul- 
tivates, and  comes  to  understand  the  in- 
terrelation of  the  various  forms  of  life 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


21 


which  he  finds  in  his  garden,  has  pro- 
gressed far  in  the  fundamental  knowledge 
of  nature's  ways  as  well  as  in  a  practical 
knowledge  of  agriculture. 

NATURE-STUDY  AND  AGRICULTURE 
Luckily,  thumb-rule  agriculture  is  be- 
ing pushed  to  the  wall  in  these  enlight- 
ened days.  Thumb  rules  would  work 
much  better  if  nature  did  not  vary  her 
performances  in  such  a  confusing  way. 
Government  experiment  stations  were  es- 
tablished because  thumb  rules  for  farm- 
ing were  unreliable  and  disappointing; 
and  all  the  work  of  all  the  experiment 
stations  has  been  simply  advanced  nature- 
study  and  its  application  to  the  practice 
of  agriculture.  Both  nature-study  and  ag- 
riculture are  based  upon  the  study  of  life 
and  the  physical  conditions  which  en- 
courage or  limit  life;  this  is  known  to  the 
world  as  the  study  of  the  natural  sciences; 
and  if  we  see  clearly  the  relation  of  nature- 
study  to  science,  we  may  understand 
better  the  relation  of  nature-study  to  ag- 
riculture, which  is  based  upon  the  sciences. 
Nature-study  is  science  brought  home. 
It  is  a  knowledge  of  botany,  zoology,  and 
geology  as  illustrated  in  the  dooryard,  the 
cornfield  or  the  woods  back  of  the  house. 
Some  people  have  an  idea  that  to  know 
these  sciences  one  must  go  to  college; 
they  do  not  understand  that  nature  has 
furnished  the  material  and  laboratories 
on  every  farm  in  the  land.  Thus,  by  be- 
ginning with  the  child  in  nature-study  we 
take  him  to  the  laboratory  of  the  wood 
or  garden,  the  roadside  or  the  field,  and 
his  materials  are  the  wild  flowers  or  the 


Marion  E.  Wesp 


A  wheat  shock 


Dept.  of  Agronomy,  N.  Y.  State  College  of  Agriculture 

A  meadow  at  harvest  time 

weeds,  or  the  insects  that  visit  the  golden- 
rod  or  the  bird  that  sings  in  the  maple 
tree,  or  the  woodchuck  whistling  in  the 
pasture.  The  child  begins  to  study  living 
things  anywhere  or  everywhere,  and  his 
progress  is  always  along  the  various  tracks 
laid  down  by  the  laws  of  life,  along  which 
his  work  as  an  agriculturist  must  always 
progress  if  it  is  to  be  successful. 

The  child  through  nature-study  learns 
the  way  a  plant  grows,  whether  it  be  an 
oak,  a  turnip,  or  a  pigweed;  he  learns  how 
the  roots  of  each  are  adapted  to  its  needs; 
how  the  leaves  place  themselves  to  get 
the  sunshine  and  why  they  need  it;  and 
how  the  flowers  get  their  pollen  carried 
by  the  bee  or  the  wind;  and  how  the 
seeds  are  finally  scattered  and  planted. 
Or  he  learns  about  the  life  of  the  bird, 
whether  it  be  a  chicken,  an  owl,  or  a 
bobolink;  he  knows  how  each  bird  gets 
its  food  and  what  its  food  is,  where  it 
lives,  where  it  nests,  and  its  relation  to 
other  living  things.  He  studies  the  bum- 
blebee and  discovers  its  great  mission  of 
pollen-carrying  for  many  flowers,  and  in 
the  end  would  no  sooner  strike  it  dead 
than  he  would  voluntarily  destroy  his 
clover  patch.  This  is  the  kind  of  learn- 
ing we  call  nature-study  and  not  science 
or  agriculture.  But  the  country  child  can 
never  learn  anything  in  nature-study  that 
has  not  something  to  do  with  science,  and 
that  has  not  its  own  practical  lesson  for 
him,  when  he  shall  become  a  farmer. 

Some  have  argued,  "  Why  not  make 
nature-study  solely  along  the  lines  of  agri- 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


22 

culture?  Why  should  not  the  child  begin 
nature-study  with  the  cabbage  rather  than 
with  the  wild  flowers?''  This  argument 
carried  out  logically  provides  recreation 
for  a  boy  in  hoeing  corn  rather  than  in 
playing  ball.  Many  parents  in  the  past 
have  argued  thus  and  have,  in  conse- 
quence, driven  thousands  of  splendid 
boys  from  the  country  to  the  city  with  a 
loathing  in  their  souls  for  the  drudgery 
which  seemed  all  there  was  to  farm  life. 
The  reason  the  wild  flowers  may  be  se- 
lected for  beginning  the  nature-study  of 
plants  is  that  every  child  loves  these  wood- 
land posies,  and  his  happiest  hours  are 
spent  in  gathering  them.  Never  yet  have 
we  known  of  a  case  where  a  child,  having 
gained  his  knowledge  of  the  way  a  plant 
lives  through  studying  the  plants  he  loves, 
has  failed  to  be  interested  and  delighted 
to  find  that  the  wonderful  things  he  dis- 
covered about  his  wild  flower  may  be  true 
of  the  vegetable  in  the  garden,  or  the 
purslane  which  fights  with  it  for  ground 
to  stand  upon. 

Some  have  said,  "  We,  as  farmers,  care 
only  to  know  what  concerns  our  pocket- 
books;  we  wish  only  to  study  those  things 
which  we  must,  as  farmers,  cultivate  or 
destroy.  We  do  not  care  for  the  butterfly, 
but  we  wish  to  know  the  plum  weevil;  we 
do  not  care  for  the  trillium,  but  we  are 
interested  in  the  onion;  we  do  not  care 
for  the  meadowlark,  but  we  cherish  the 
gosling."  This  is  an  absurd  argument 
since  it  is  a  mental  impossibility  for  any 
human  being  to  discriminate  between 
two  things  when  he  knows  or  sees  only 
one.  In  order  to  understand  the  impor- 
tant economic  relations  to  the  world  of 
one  plant  or  animal,  it  is  absolutely  nec- 
essary to  have  a  wide  knowledge  of  other 
plants  and  animals.  One  might  as  well 
say,  "  I  will  see  the  approaching  cyclone, 
but  never  look  at  the  sky;  I  will  look  at  the 
clover,  but  not  see  the  dandelion;  I  will 
look  for  the  sheriff  when  he  comes  over 
the  hill,  but  will  not  see  any  other  team 
on  the  road." 

Nature-study  is  an  effort  to  make  the 
individual  use  his  senses  instead  of  losing 
them;  to  train  him  to  keep  his  eyes  open 


to  all  things  so  that  his  powers  of  dis- 
crimination shall  be  based  on  wisdom. 
The  ideal  farmer  is  not  the  man  who  by 
hazard  and  chance  succeeds;  he  is  the 
man  who  loves  his  farm  and  all  that  sur- 
rounds it  because  he  is  awake  to  the 
beauty  as  well  as  to  the  wonders  which 
are  there;  he  is  the  man  who  understands 
as  far  as  may  be  the  great  forces  of  nature 
which  are  at  work  around  him,  and  there- 
fore he  is  able  to  make  them  work  for 
him.  For  what  is  agriculture  save  a  diver- 
sion of  natural  forces  for  the  benefit  of 
man!  The  farmer  who  knows  these  forces 
only  when  restricted  to  his  paltry  crops, 
and  has  no  idea  of  their  larger  application, 
is  no  more  efficient  as  a  farmer  than  a  man 
who  knew  only  how  to  start  and  stop  an 
engine  would  be  as  an  engineer. 

In  order  to  appreciate  truly  his  farm, 
the  farmer  must  needs  begin  as  a  child 
with  nature-study;  in  order  to  be  success- 
ful and  make  the  farm  pay,  he  must  needs 
continue  in  nature-study;  and  to  make  his 
declining  years  happy,  content,  full  of 
wide  sympathies  and  profitable  thought, 
he  must  needs  conclude  with  nature- 
study;  for  nature-study  is  the  alphabet  of 
agriculture  and  no  word  in  that  great  vo- 
cation may  be  spelled  without  it. 

NATURE-STUDY  CLUBS 

The  organizing  by  the  pupils  of  a  club 
for  studying  out-of-door  life  is  a  great  help 
and  inspiration  to  the  work  in  nature-study 
in  the  classroom.  The  essays  and  the  talks 
before  the  club  prove  efficient  aid  in  Eng- 
lish composition;  and  the  varied  interests 
of  the  members  of  the  club  furnish  new 
and  vital  material  for  study.  A  button  or  a 
badge  may  be  designed  for  the  club  and, 
of  course,  it  must  have  a  constitution  and 
bylaws.  The  proceedings  of  the  club  meet- 
ings should  be  conducted  according  to 
parliamentary  rules;  but  the  field  excur- 
sions should  be  entirely  informal. 

The  meetings  of  the  Junior  Naturalists 
Clubs,  as  organized  in  the  schools  of  New 
York  State  by  Mr.  John  W.  Spencer, 
were  most  impressive.  The  school  session 
would  be  brought  to  a  close,  the  teacher 
stepping  down  and  taking  a  seat  with  the 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


pupils.  The  president  of  the  club,  some 
bashful  boy  or  slender  slip  of  a  girl, 
would  take  the  chair  and  conduct  the 
meeting  with  a  dignity  and  efficiency 
worthy  of  a  statesman.  The  order  was  per- 
fect, the  discussion  much  to  the  point. 
I  confess  to  a  feeling  of  awe  when  I  at- 
tended these  meetings,  conducted  so  seri- 
ously and  so  formally,  by  such  youngsters. 
Undoubtedly,  the  parliamentary  training 
and  experience  in  speaking  impromptu  are 
among  the  chief  benefits  of  such  a  club. 
These  clubs  may  be  organized  for  spe- 
cial study.  In  one  bird  club  of  which  I 
know  there  have  been  contests.  Sides 
were  chosen  and  the  number  of  birds  seen 


from  May  i  to  31  inclusive  was  the 
test  of  supremacy.  Notes  on  the  birds 
were  taken  in  the  field  with  such  care 
that,  when  at  the  end  of  the  month  each 
member  handed  in  his  notes,  they  could 
be  used  as  evidence  of  accurate  identifica- 
tion. An  umpire  decided  the  doubtful 
points  with  the  help  of  bird  manuals.  The 
contest  was  always  close  and  exciting. 

The  programs  of  the  nature  club  should 
be  varied  so  as  to  be  continually  interest- 
ing. Poems  and  stories  concerning  the 
objects  studied  help  make  the  program 
attractive.  Observing  nature,  however, 
should  be  the  central  theme  of  all 
meetings. 


HOW  TO  USE  THIS  BOOK 


First  and  indispensably,  the  teacher 
should  have  at  hand  the  subject  of  the 
lesson.  She  should  make  herself  familiar 
with  the  points  covered  by  the  questions 
and  read  the  story  before  giving  the  les- 
son. If  she  does  not  have  the  time  to  go 
over  the  observations  suggested  before 
giving  the  lesson,  she  should  take  up  the 
questions  with  the  pupils  as  a  joint  inves- 
tigation, and  be  boon  companion  in  dis- 
covering the  story. 

The  story  should  not  be  read  to  the 
pupils.  It  is  given  as  an  assistance  to  the 
teacher,  and  is  not  meant  for  direct  in- 
formation to  the  pupils.  If  the  teacher 
knows  a  fact  in  nature's  realm,  she  is  then 
in  a  position  to  lead  her  pupils  to  dis- 
cover this  fact  for  themselves. 

Make  the  lesson  an  investigation  and 
make  the  pupils  feel  that  they  are  in- 
vestigators. To  tell  the  story  to  begin 
with  inevitably  spoils  this  attitude  and 
quenches  interest. 

The  "leading  thought"  embodies 
some  of  the  points  which  should  be  in 
the  teacher's  mind  while  giving  the  les- 
son; it  should  not  be  read  or  declared  to 
the  pupils. 

The  outlines  for  observations  herein 
given  by  no  means  cover  all  of  the  ob- 
servations possible;  they  are  meant  to  sug- 


gest to  the  teacher  observations  of  her 
own,  rather  than  to  be  followed  slavishly. 
The  suggestions  for  observations  have 
been  given  in  the  form  of  questions, 
merely  for  the  sake  of  saving  space.  The 
direct  questioning  method,  if  not  em- 
ployed with  discretion,  becomes  tiresome 


Marion  E.  Wesp 

to  both  pupil  and  teacher.  If  the  ques- 
tions do  not  inspire  the  child  to  investi- 
gate, they  are  useless.  To  grind  out  an- 
swers to  questions  about  any  natural 
object  is  not  nature-study,  it  is  simply 
"  grind,"  a  form  of  mental  activity  which 
is  of  much  greater  use  when  applied  to 
spelling  or  the  multiplication  table  than 
to  the  study  of  nature.  The  best  teacher 
will  cover  the  points  suggested  for  ob- 
servations with  few  direct  questions.  To 
those  who  find  the  questions  inadequate  I 


THE  TEACHING  OF  NATURE-STUDY 


will  say  that,  although  I  have  used  these 
outlines  once,  I  am  sure  I  should  never  be 
able  to  use  them  again  without  making 
changes. 


A  hickory  tree 


Marion  E.  Wesp 


The  topics  chosen  for  these  lessons  may 
not  be  the  most  practical  or  the  most 
interesting  or  the  most  enlightening 
that  are  to  be  found;  they  are  simply 
those  subjects  which  I  have  used  in  my 
classes,  because  we  happened  to  find  them 
at  hand  the  mornings  the  lessons  were 
given. 

While  an  earnest  attempt  has  been 
made  to  make  the  information  in  this 
book  accurate,  it  is  to  be  expected  and  to 
be  hoped  that  many  discrepancies  will 
be  found  by  those  who  follow  the  lessons. 
No  two  animals  or  plants  are  just  alike, 
and  no  two  people  see  things  exactly  the 
same  way.  The  chief  aim  of  this  volume 
is  to  encourage  investigation  rather  than 
to  give  information.  Therefore,  if  mis- 
takes are  found,  the  object  of  the  book 
will  have  been  accomplished,  and  the 
author  will  feel  deeply  gratified.  If  the 
teacher  finds  that  the  observations  made 
by  her  and  her  pupils  do  not  agree  with 
the  statements  in  the  book,  I  earnestly 
enjoin  upon  her  to  trust  to  her  own  eyes 
rather  than  to  any  book. 

No  teacher  is  expected  to  teach  all  the 
lessons  in  this  book.  A  wide  rarige  of 
subjects  is  given,  so  that  congenial  choice 
may  be  made. 


PART  II 
ANIMALS 


ANIMAL  GROUPS 


For  some  inexplicable  reason,  the  word 
animal?  in  common  parlance,  is  restricted 
to  the  mammals.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the 
bird,  the  fish,  the  insect,  and  the  snake 
have  as  much  right  to  be  called  animals  as 
the  squirrel  or  the  deer.  And  while  I  be- 
lieve that  much  freedom  in  the  matter  of 
scientific  nomenclature  is  permissible  in 
nature-study,  I  also  believe  that  it  is  well 
for  the  child  to  have  a  clearly  defined  idea 
of  the  classes  into  which  the  animal  king- 
dom is  divided;  I  would  have  him  gain 
this  knowledge  by  noting  how  one  animal 


differs  from  another  rather  than  by  study- 
ing the  classification  of  animals  in  books. 
He  sees  that  the  fish  differs  in  many  ways 
from  the  bird  and  that  the  toad  differs 
from  the  snake;  and  it  will  be  easy  for 
him  to  grasp  the  fact  that  the  mammals 
differ  from  all  other  animals  in  that  their 
young  are  nourished  by  milk  from  the 
breasts  of  the  mother;  when  he  appreci- 
ates this,  he  will  understand  that  such 
diverse  forms  as  the  whale,  the  cow,  the 
bat,  and  man  are  members  of  one  great 
class  of  animals. 


BIRDS 


Young  phoebes  that  have  just  left  the  nest 


The  reason  for  studying  any  bird  is  to 
ascertain  what  it  does;  in  order  to  accom- 
plish this,  it  is  necessary  to  know  what 
the  bird  is,  learning  what  it  is  being 
simply  a  step  that  leads  to  a  knowledge 
of  what  it  does.  But,  to  hear  some  of  our 
bird  devotees  talk,  one  would  think  that 
to  be  able  to  identify  a  bird  is  all  of  bird 
study.  On  the  contrary,  the  identification 
of  birds  is  simply  the  alphabet  to  the  real 
study,  the  alphabet  by  means  of  which 
we  may  spell  out  the  life  habits  of  the 
bird.  To  know  these  habits  is  the  ambition 
of  the  true  ornithologist,  and  should  like- 
wise be  the  ambition  of  the  beginner, 
even  though  the  beginner  be  a  young 
child. 

Several  of  the  most  common  birds  have 
been  selected  as  subjects  for  lessons  in 
this  book;  other  common  birds,  like  the 
phosbe  and  the  wrens,  have  been  purposely 
omitted;  after  the  children  have  studied 
the  birds,  as  indicated  in  the  lessons,  they 
will  enjoy  working  out  lessons  for  them- 
selves with  other  birds.  Naturally,  the  se- 
quence of  these  lessons  does  not  follow 
scientific  classification;  in  the  first  lessons, 
an  attempt  has  been  made  to  lead  the 


child  gradually  into  a  knowledge  of  bird 
life.  Beginning  with  the  chicken  there  fol- 
low naturally  the  lessons  with  pigeons  and 
the  canary;  then  there  follow  the  careful 
and  detailed  study  of  the  robins  and  con^ 
stant  comparison  of  them  with  the  blue- 
birds. This  is  enough  for  the  first  year 
in  the  primary  grades.  The  next  year  the 
work  begins  with  the  birds  that  remain 
the  North  during  the  winter,  the 


m 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  family  of  cedar  waxwings 


28 

chickadee,  nuthatch,  and  downy  wood- 
pecker. After  these  have  been  studied  care- 
fully, the  teacher  may  be  an  opportunist 
when  spring  comes  and  select  any  of  the 
lessons  when  the  bird  subjects  are  at  hand. 
The  classification  suggested  for  the  wood- 
peckers and  the  swallows  is  for  more  ad- 
vanced pupils,  as  are  the  lessons  on  the 
geese  and  turkeys.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that 
these  lessons  will  lead  the  child  directly  to 
the  use  of  the  bird  books,  of  which  there 
are  many  excellent  ones;  for  these,  see  the 
bibliography. 

BEGINNING  BIRD  STUDY  IN  THE 
PRIMARY  GRADES 

The  hen  is  especially  adapted  as  an  ob- 
ject lesson  for  the  young  beginner  of  bird 
study.  First  of  all,  she  is  a  bird,  notwith- 
standing the  adverse  opinions  of  two  of 
my  small  pupils  who  stoutly  maintained 
that  "  a  robin  is  a  bird,  but  a  hen  is  a  hen/7 
Moreover,  the  hen  is  a  bird  always  avail- 
able for  nature-study;  she  looks  askance 
at  us  from  the  crates  of  the  world's 
marts;  she  comes  to  meet  us  in  the  coun- 
try barnyard,  stepping  toward  us  sedately; 
looking  at  us  earnestly  with  one  eye,  then 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  redstart  at  her  nest 

turning  her  head  so  as  to  check  up  her 
observations  with  the  other;  meantime 
she  asks  us  a  little  question  in  a  whee- 
dling, soft  tone,  which  we  understand  per- 
fectly to  mean,  "  Have  you  perchance 


ANIMALS 

but  she  is  a  bird  with  problems;  and  by 
studying  her  carefully  we  may  be  intro- 
duced into  the  very  heart  and  center  of 
bird  life. 

This  lesson  may  be  presented  in  two 
ways :  First,  if  the  pupils  live  in  the  coun- 
try, where  they  have  poultry  at  home,  the 
whole  series  of  lessons  may  best  be  accom- 
plished through  talks  by  the  teacher,  fol- 
lowed on  the  part  of  the  children  by  ob- 
servations to  be  made  at  home.  The  re- 
sults of  these  observations  should  be  given 
in  school  in  oral  or  written  lessons.  Sec- 
ond, if  the  pupils  are  not  familiar  with 
fowls,  a  hen  and  a  chick,  if  possible,  should 
be  kept  in  a  cage  in  the  schoolroom  for  a 
few  days,  and  a  duck  or  gosling  should  be 
brought  in  one  day  for  observation.  The 
crates  in  which  fowls  are  sent  to  market 
make  very  good  cages.  One  of  the  teachers 
of  the  Elmira,  N.  Y.  schools  introduced 
into  the  basement  of  the  schoolhouse  a 
hen,  which  there  hatched  her  brood  of 
chicks,  much  to  the  children's  delight  and 
edification.  After  the  pupils  have  become 
thoroughly  interested  in  the  hen  and  are 
familiar  with  her  ways,  after  they  have  feel 
her  and  watched  her,  and  have  for  her  a 
sense  of  ownership,  the  following  lessons 
may  be  given  in  an  informal  manner,  as  if 
they  were  naturally  suggested  to  the 
teacher's  mind  through  watching  the  fowl. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Cards,  by  Allan  Brooks,  with  text  by 
Alden  H.  Hadley;  Audubon  Bird  Leaflets, 
published  by  the  National  Association  of 
Audubon  Societies;  The  Bird  Book,  by 
Neltje  Blanchan;  Bird  Guide:  Land  Birds 
East  of  the  Rodcies,  by  Chester  A.  Reed; 
Bird  Guide;  Water  Birds,  Game  Birds 
and  Birds  of  Prey  East  of  the  Rockies,  by 
Chester  A.  Reecl;  Bird  Life,  by  Frank  M. 
Chapman;  Birds  of  America,  edited  by 
T.  Gilbert  Pearson;  Birds  of  Massachu- 
setts and  Other  New  England  States,  by 
Edward  H.  Forbusli;  Birds  of  Minnesota, 
Bird  Portraits  in  Color,  A  Manual  for  the 
Identification  of  the  Birds  of  Minnesota 
and  Neighboring  States,  295  American 
Birds  (pictures  in  spiral  binding  or  loose 


brought  me  something  to  eat?  "  Not  only      in  portfolio),  all  by  Thomas  S.  Roberts; 
is  the  hen  an  interesting  bird  in  herself,      Birds  of  New  York,  by  E.  H.  Eaton;  The 


BIRDS 


Book  of  Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The 
Book  of  Birds,  edited  by  Gilbert  Grosve- 
nor  and  Alexander  Wetmore;  The  Chil- 
dren's Book  of  Birds  (  First  Book  of  Birds 
and  Second  Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive 
Thorne  Miller;  A  Field  Guide' to  the 
Birds,  by  Roger  Tory  Peterson;  Handbook 
of  the  Birds  of  Eastern  North  America, 
by  Frank  M.  Chapman;  Ornithology 
Laboratory  Notebook,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Red 
Book  of  Birds  of  America,  Blue  Book  of 
Birds  of  America,  Green  Book  of  Birds 


29 


of  America,  by  Frank  G.  Ashbrook;  What 
Bird  is  That?"  by  Frank  M.  Chapman. 

(These  books  contain  descriptions  and 
accounts  of  all  the  wild  birds  considered 
in  this  section  of  the  Handbook.  Addi- 
tional references  are  to  be  found  in  the 
bibliography  in  the  back  of  the  book,  un- 
der various  headings:  Birds,  Animals  in 
General,  Nature  Study  in  General,  Text- 
books and  Readers,  Nature  Poetry,  Maga- 
zines and  Periodicals,  Books  for  Parents 
and  Teachers.) 


FEATHERS  AS  CLOTHING 


The  bird's  clothing  affords  a  natural 
beginning  for  bird  study  because  the  wear- 
ing of  feathers  is  a  most  striking  character- 
istic distinguishing  birds  from  other  crea- 


Hooks  on  barbels 


A  feather 

tares;  also,  feathers  and  flying  are  the  first 
things  the  young  child  notices  about  birds. 
The  purpose  of  all  these  lessons  on 
the  hen  are:  (a)  To  induce  the  child  to 
make  continued  and  sympathetic  observa- 
tions on  the  habits  of  the  domestic  birds. 

(b)  To  cause  him  involuntarily  to  com- 
pare the  domestic  with  the  wild  birds. 

(c)  To  induce  him  to  think  for  himself 
how  the  shape  of  the  body,  wings,  head, 
beak,  feet,  legs,  and  feathers  are  adapted  in 
each  species  to  protect  the  bird  and  assist 
it  in  getting  its  living. 


The  overlapping  of  the  feathers  on  a 
hen's  back  and  breast  is  a  pretty  illustra- 
tion of  nature's  method  of  shingling,  so 
that  the  rain,  finding  no  place  to  enter, 
drips  off,  leaving  the  bird's  underclothing 
quite  dry.  It  is  interesting  to  note  how  a 
hen  behaves  in  the  rain;  she  droops  her 
tail  and  holds  herself  so  that  the  water 
finds  upon  her  no  resting  place,  but  simply 
a  steep  surface  down  which  to  flow  to  the 
ground. 

Each  feather  consists  of  three  parts,  the 
shaft  or  quill,  which  is  the  central  stiff 


Feathers  help  birds  to  endure  the  cold 

stem  of  the  feather,  giving  it  strength. 
From  this  quill  come  off  the  barbs  which, 
toward  the  outer  end,  join  together  in 
a  smooth  web,  making  the  thin,  fanlike 
portion  of  the  feather;  at  the  base  is  the 
fluff,  which  is  soft  and  downy  and  near 
to  the  body  of  the  fowl.  The  teacher 


3° 


should  put  on  the  blackboard  this  figure 
so  that  incidentally  the  pupils  may  learn 
the  parts  of  a  feather  and  their  struc- 
ture. If  a  microscope  is  available,  show 
both  the  web  and  the  fluff  of  a  feather 
under  a  three-fourths  objective. 

The  feathers  on  the  back  of  a  hen  are 
longer  and  narrower  in  proportion  than 
those  on  the  breast  and  are  especially  fit- 
ted to  protect  the  back  from  rain;  the 
breast  feathers  are  shorter  and  have  more 
of  the  fluff,  thus  protecting  the  breast 
from  the  cold  as  well  as  the  rain.  It  is  plain 
to  any  child  that  the  soft  fluff  is  com- 
parable to  our  underclothing  while  the 
smooth,  overlapping  web  forms  a  rain- 
and  wind-proof  outer  coat.  Down  is  a 
feather  with  no  quill;  young  chicks  are 
covered  with  down.  A  pin-feather  is  simply 
a  young  feather  rolled  up  in  a  sheath, 
which  bursts  later  and  is  shed,  leaving  the 
feather  free  to  assume  its  form.  Take  a 
large  pin-feather  and  cut  the  sheath  open 
and  show  the  pupils  the  young  feather 
lying  within. 

When  a  hen  oils  her  feathers  it  is  a 
process  well  worth  observing.  The  oil 
gland  is  on  her  back  just  at  the  base  of 
the  tail  feathers;  she  squeezes  the  gland 
with  her  beak  to  get  the  oil  and  then 
rubs  the  beak  over  the  surface  of  her 


ANIMALS 

hen  oils  her  feathers  it  is  a  sure  sign  of 
rain.  The  hen  sheds  her  feathers  once  a 
year  and  is  a  most  untidy  looking  bird 
meanwhile,  a  fact  that  she  seems  to  real- 
ize, for  she  is  as  shy  and  cross  as  a  young 
lady  caught  in  company  with  her  hair  in 
curlers;  but  she  seems  very  pleased  with 


Young  pelicans  are  born  naked,  but  are  soon 
covered  with  white  down 

feathers  and  passes  them  through  it;  she 
spends  more  time  oiling  the  feathers  on 
her  back  and  breast  than  those  on  the 
other  parts,  so  that  they  will  surely  shed 
water.  Country  people  say  that  when  the 


J.  E.  Rice 

Feathers  of  a  rooster,  showing  their  relative 
size,  shape,  and  position 

1,  neck  hackle;  2,  breast;  3,  wing  shoulder  covert;  4, 
wing  flight  covert ;  5,  wing  primary ;  6,  wing  .secondary ; 
7,  wing  covert;  8,  back;  9,  tail  covert;  10,  main  tail; 
11,  fluff;  12,  thigh;  13,  saddle  hackle;  14,  the  sickle  or 
feather  of  beauty ;  15,  lesser  sickle 

herself  when  she  finally  gains  her  new 
feathers. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Bird  Boole, 
by  Fannie  H.  Eckstorm;  Bird  Friends,  by 
Gilbert  H.  Trafton;  Bird  Life,  by  Frank 
M.  Chapman;  Birds  and  Their  Attributes, 
by  Glover  M.  Allen;  The  Book  of  Bird 
Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Children's  Book 
of  Birds  (First  Book  of  Birds  and  Second 
Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thome  Miller; 
Nature  —  by  Seaside  and  Wayside,  by 
Mary  G.  Phillips  and  Julia  M.  Wright, 
Book  3,  Plants  and  Animals. 

LESSON  i 

FEATHERS  AS  CLOTHING 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Feathers  grow 
from  the  skin  of  a  bird  and  protect  the 
bird  from  rain,  snow,  wind,  and  cold. 
Some  of  the  feathers  act  as  cloaks  or 


BIRDS 


mackintoshes  and  others  as  undercloth- 
ing. 

METHOD  —  The  hen  should  be  at  close 
range  for  this  lesson  where  the  children 
may  observe  how  and  where  the  different 
kinds  of  feathers  grow.  The  pupils  should 
also  study  separately  the  form  of  a  feather 
from  the  back,  from  the  breast,  from  the 
under  side  of  the  body,  and  a  pin-feather. 

OBSERVATIONS  FOR  PUPILS  — i.  How 
are  the  feathers  arranged  on  the  back  of 
the  hen?  Are  they  like  shingles  on  the 
roof? 

2.  How  does  a  hen  look  when  standing 
in  the  rain? 

3.  How  are  the  feathers  arranged  on 
the  breast? 

4.  Compare  a  feather  from  the  back 
and  one  from  the  breast  and  note  the 
difference. 

5.  Are  both  ends  of  these  feathers  alike? 
If  not,  what  is  the  difference? 

6.  Is  the  fluffy  part  of  the  feather  on 


31 


the  outside  or  next  to  the  bird's  skin? 
What  is  its  use? 

7.  Why   is   the   smooth   part   of   the 
feather   (the  web)   on  the  outside? 

8.  Some  feathers  are  all  fluff  and  are 
called  "  down/'  At  what  age  was  the  fowl 
all  covered  with  down? 

9.  What  is  a  pin-feather?  Why  do  you 
think  it  is  so  called? 

10.  How  do  hens  keep  their  feathers 
oily  and  glossy  so  they  will  shed  water? 

11.  Where  does  the  hen  get  the  oil? 
Describe  how  she  oils  her  feathers;  which 
ones  does  she  oil  most?  Does  she  oil  her 
feathers  before  a  rain? 

"  How  beautiful  your  feathers  be/ " 
The  Redbird  sang  to  the  Tulip-tree 

New  garbed  in  autumn  gold. 
"  Alas/  "  the  bending  branches  sighed, 
"  They  cannot  like  your  leaves  abide 
To  keep  us  from  the  cold/  " 

—  JOHN  B.  TABB. 


FEATHERS  AS  ORNAMENT 


The  ornamental  plumage  of  birds  is 
one  of  the  principal  illustrations  of  a  great 
principle  of  evolution.  The  theory  is  that 
the  male  birds  win  their  mates  because 
of  their  beauty,  those  that  are  not  beauti- 
ful being  doomed  to  live  single  and  leave 
no  progeny  to  inherit  their  dullness.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  successful  wooer 
hands  down  his  beauty  to  his  sons.  How- 
ever, another  quite  different  principle  acts 
upon  the  coloring  of  the  plumage  of  the 
mother  birds;  for  if  they  should  develop 
bright  colors  themselves,  they  would  at- 
tract the  eyes  of  the  enemy  to  their  pre- 
cious hidden  nests;  only  by  being  incon- 
spicuous are  they  able  to  protect  their 
eggs  and  nestlings  from  discovery  and 
death.  The  mother  partridge,  for  instance, 
is  so  nearly  the  color  of  the  dead  leaves  on 
the  ground  about  her  that  we  may  almost 
step  upon  her  before  we  discover  her;  if 
she  were  the  color  of  the  male  oriole  or 
tanager  she  would  very  soon  be  the  center 
of  attraction  to  every  prowler.  Thus  it  has 


come  about  that  among  the  birds  the  male 
has  developed  gorgeous  colors  which  at- 
tract the  female,  while  the  female  has 
kept  modest,  unnoticeable  plumage. 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

Not  a  candidate  for  a  beauty  contest.  A  young 
belted  kingfisher  clothed  in  pin  feathers 

The  curved  feathers  of  the  rooster's 
tail  are  weak  and  mobile  and  could  not 
possibly  be  of  any  use  as  a  rudder;  but 


32 

they  give  grace  and  beauty  to  the  fowl 
and  cover  the  useful  rudder  feathers  un- 
derneath by  a  feather  fountain  of  irides- 
cence. The  neck  plumage  of  the  cock 


Peacock  feathers.  Is  beauty  use, 


is  also  often  luxurious  and  beautiful  in 
color  and  quite  different  from  that  of 
the  hen.  Among  the  Rouen  ducks  the 
brilliant  blue-green  iridescent  head  of  the 
drake  and  his  wing  bars  are  beautiful,  and 
make  his  wife  seem  Quaker-like  in  con- 
trast. 

As  an  object  lesson  to  instill  the  idea 
that  the  male  bird  is  proud  of  his  beautiful 
feathers,  I  know  of  none  better  than  that 
presented  by  the  turkey  gobbler,  for  he 
is  a  living  expression  of  self-conscious  van- 
ity. He  spreads  his  tail  to  the  fullest  extent 
and  shifts  it  this  way  and  that  to  show  the 
exquisite  play  of  colors  over  the  feathers 
in  the  sunlight,  meanwhile  throwing  out 
his  chest  to  call  particular  attention  to  his 
blue  and  red  wattles;  and  to  keep  from 
bursting  with  pride  he  bubbles  over  in 
vainglorious  "  gobbles." 

The  hen  with  her  chicks  and  the  turkey 
hen  with  her  brood,  if  they  follow  their 
own  natures,  must  wandei  in  the  fields  for 
food.  If  they  were  bright  in  color,  the 
hawks  would  soon  detect  them  and  their 
chances  of  escape  would  be  small;  this  is 
an  instance  of  the  advantage  to  the  young 
of  adopting  the  colors  of  the  mother 
rather  than  of  the  father;  a  fact  equally 
true  of  the  song  birds  in  cases  where  the 
males  are  brilliant  in  color  at  maturity. 
The  male  Baltimore  oriole  does  not  assist 
his  mate  in  brooding,  but  he  sits  some- 
where on  the  home  tree  and  cheers  her  by 
his  glorious  song  and  by  glimpses  of  his 
gleaming  orange  coat.  Some  have  accused 
him  of  being  lazy;  on  the  contrary,  he  is 


ANIMALS 

a  wise  householder,  for,  instead  of  attract- 
ing the  attention  of  crow  or  squirrel  to  his 
nest,  he  distracts  their  attention  from  it 
by  both  color  and  song. 

A  peacock's  feather  should  really  be  a 
lesson  by  itself,  it  is  so  much  a  thing  of 
beauty.  The  brilliant  color  of  the  purple 
eye-spot,  and  the  graceful  flowing  barbs 
that  form  the  setting  to  the  central  gem, 
are  all  a  training  in  aesthetics  as  well  as 
in  nature-study.  After  the  children  have 
studied  such  a  feather  let  them  see  the 
peacock,  either  in  reality  or  in  picture,  and 
give  them  stories  about  this  bird  of  Juno 
—  a  bird  so  inconspicuous,  except  for  his 
great  spread  of  tail,  that  a  child  seeing 
him  for  the  first  time  cried,  "  Oh,  oh,  see 
this  old  hen  all  in  bloom!  " 

The  whole  question  of  sexual  selection 
may  be  made  as  plain  as  need  be  for  the 
little  folks,  by  simply  telling  them  that 
the  mother  bird  chooses  for  her  mate  the 
one  which  is  most  brightly  and  beautifully 
dressed;  make  much  of  the  comb  and  wat- 
tles of  the  rooster  and  gobbler  as  additions 
to  the  brilliancy  of  their  appearance. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  See  suggested 
reading  for  "  Feathers  as  Clothing." 


LESSON  2 
FEATHERS  AS  ORNAMENT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  color  of 
feathers  and  often  their  shape  make  some 
birds  more  beautiful;  while  in  others,  the 
color  of  the  feathers  serves  to  protect 
them  from  the  observation  of  their  ene- 
mies. 

METHOD  —  While  parts  of  this  lesson 
relating  to  fowls  may  be  given  in  primary 
grades,  it  is  equally  fitted  for  pupils  who 
have  a  wider  knowledge  of  birds.  Begin 
with  a  comparison  of  the  plumage  of  the 
hen  and  the  rooster.  Then,  if  possible, 
study  the  turkey  gobbler  and  a  peacock  in 
life  or  in  pictures.  Also  the  plumage  of  a 
Rouen  duck  and  drake,  and  if  possible, 
the  Baltimore  oriole,  the  goldfinch,  the 
scarlet  tanager,  and  the  cardinal. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Note  the  difference 
in  shape  and  color  of  the  tail  feathers  of 
hen  and  rooster. 


BIRDS 

2.  Do  the  graceful  curved  tail  feathers 
of  the  rooster  help  him  in  flying?  Are  they 
stiff  enough  to  act  as  a  rudder? 

3.  If  not  of  use  in  flying  what  are  they 
for?  Which  do  you  think  the  more  beauti- 
ful the  hen  or  the  rooster? 

4.  In  what  respects  is  the  rooster  a  more 
beautiful  fowl? 

5.  What  other  parts  of  the  rooster's 
plumage  are  more  beautiful  than  that  of 
the  hen? 

6.  If  a  turkey  gobbler  sees  you  looking 
at  him  he  begins  to  strut.  Do  you  think 
he  does  this  to  show  off  his  tail  feathers? 
Note  how  he  turns  his  spread  tail  this  way 
and  that  so  the  sunshine  will  bring  out 
the  beautiful  changeable  colors.  Do  you 
think  he  does  this  so  you  can  see  and  ad- 
mire him? 

7.  Describe  the  difference  in  plumage 
between  the  hen  turkey  and  the  gobbler. 
Does  the  hen  turkey  strut? 

8.  Note  the  beautiful  blue-green  irides- 
cent head  and  wing  patches  on  the  wings 
of  the  Rouen  ducks.  Is  the  drake  more 
beautiful  than  the  duck? 

9.  What  advantage  is  it  for  these  fowls 
to  have  the  father  bird  more  beautiful  and 
bright  in  color  than  the  mother  bird? 

10.  In  the  case  of  the  Baltimore  oriole, 
is  the  mother  bird  as  bright  in  color  as  the 
father  bird? 

11.  Study  a  peacock's  feather.  What 


Peacocks 

color  is  the  eye-spot?  What  color  around 
that?  What  'color  around  that?  What 
color  and  shape  are  the  outside  barbs  of 
the  feather?  Do  you  blame  a  peacock  for 
being  proud  when  he  can  spread  a  tail  of 
a  hundred  eyes?  Does  the  peahen  have 
such  beautiful  tail  feathers  as  the  peacock? 

The  bird  of  Juno  glories  in  his  plumes; 

Pride  makes  the  fowl  to  preene  his  feath- 
ers so. 

His  spotted  train  fetched  from  old  Argus' 
head, 

With  golden  rays  like  to  the  brightest  sun, 

Inserteth  self-love  in  the  silly  bird; 

Till  midst  its  hot  and  glorious  fumes 

He  spies  his  feet  and  then  lets  fall  his 
plumes. 

—  "  THE  PEACOCK/' 
ROBERT  GREENE  (1560) 


HOW  BIRDS  FLY 


To  convince  the  children  that  a  bird's 
wings  correspond  to  our  arms,  they  should 
see  a  fowl  with  its  feathers  off,  prepared 
for  market  or  oven,  and  they  will  infer 
the  fact  at  once. 

The  bird  flies  by  lifting  itself  through 
pressing  down  upon  the  air  with  its  wings. 
There  are  several  experiments  which  are 
needed  to  make  the  child  understand  this. 
It  is  difficult  for  children  to  conceive  that 
the  air  is  really  anything,  because  they  can- 
not see  it;  so  the  first  experiment  should 
be  to  show  that  the  air  is  something  we 
can  push  against  or  that  pushes  against  us. 


Strike  the  air  with  a  fan  and  we  feel  there 
is  something  which  the  fan  pushes;  we 
feel  the  wind  when  it  is  blowing  and  it  is 
very  difficult  for  us  to  walk  against  a  hard 
wind.  If  we  hold  an  open  umbrella  in  the 
hand  while  we  jump  from  a  step,  we  feel 
buoyed  up  because  the  air  presses  up 
against  the  umbrella.  The  air  presses  up 
against  the  wings  of  the  birds  just  as  it 
does  against  the  open  umbrella.  The  bird 
flies  by  pressing  down  upon  the  air  with 
its  wings  just  as  a  boy  jumps  high  by 
pressing  down  with  his  hands  on  his  vault- 
ing pole. 


34 


ANIMALS 


Study  wing  and  note:  (a)  That  the 
wings  open  and  close  at  the  will  of  the 
bird,  (b)  That  the  feathers  open  and  shut 
on  each  other  like  a  fan.  (c)  When  the 
wing  is  open  the  wing  quills  overlap,  so 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 


Common  tern.  While  we  are  having  winter 
this  bird  spends  the  summer  in  South  Amer- 
ica. It  will  return  to  spend  our  summer  with 
us 

that  the  air  cannot  pass  through  them. 
(d)  When  the  wing  is  open  it  is  curved 
so  that  it  is  more  efficient,  for  the  same 
reason  that  an  umbrella  presses  harder 
against  the  atmosphere  when  it  is  open 
than  when  it  is  broken  by  the  wind  and 
turned  wrong  side  out. 

A  wing  feather  has  the  barbs  on  the 
front  edge  lying  almost  parallel  to  the 
quill,  while  those  on  the  hind  edge  come 
off  at  a  wide  angle.  The  reason  for  this 
is  easy  to  see,  for  this  feather  has  to  cut 
the  air  as  the  bird  flies;  and  if  the  barbs  on 
the  front  side  were  like  those  of  the  other 
side,  they  would  be  torn  apart  by  the 
wind.  The  barbs  on  the  hind  side  of  the 
feather  form  a  strong,  close  web  so  as  to 
press  down  on  the  air  and  not  let  it 
through.  The  wing  quill  is  curved;  the 
convex  side  is  up  and  the  concave  side 
below  during  flight.  The  concave  side, 
like  the  umbrella,  catches  more  air  than 
the  upper  side;  the  down  stroke  of  the 
wings  is  forward  and  down;  while  on  the 
up  stroke,  as  the  wing  is  lifted,  it  bends 
at  the  joint  like  a  fan  turned  sidewise,  and 
offers  less  surface  to  resist  the  air.  Thus, 
the  up  stroke  does  not  push  the  bird  down. 

Observations  should  be  made  on  the 
use  of  the  bird's  tail  in  flight.  The  hen 


spreads  her  tail  like  a  fan  when  she  flies 
to  the  top  of  the  fence;  the  robin  does 
likewise  when  in  flight.  The  fact  that  the 
tail  is  used  as  a  rudder  to  guide  the  bird 
in  flight,  as  well  as  to  give  more  surface 
for  pressing  down  upon  the  air,  is  hard  for 
the  younger  pupils  to  understand,  and 
perhaps  can  be  best  taught  by  watch- 
ing the  erratic  unbalanced  flight  of  young 
birds  whose  tail  feathers  are  not  yet 
grown. 

The  tail  feather  differs  from  the  wing 
feather  in  that  the  quill  is  not  curved,  and 
the  barbs  on  each  side  are  of  about  equal 
length  and  lie  at  about  the  same  angle  on 
each  side  of  the  quill.  See  Fig.  p.  30. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Bird  Book, 
by  Fannie  H.  Eckstorm;  Bird  Flight,  by 
Gordon  C.  Aymar;  Bird  Life,  by  Frank  M. 
Chapman;  Birds  and  Their  Attributes,  by 
Glover  M.  Allen;  The  Book  of  Bird  Life, 
by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Children's  Boole  of 
Birds  (  First  Book  of  Birds  and  Second 
Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne  Miller; 
Nature  —  by  Seaside  and  Wayside,  by 
Mary  G.  Phillips  and  Julia  M.  Wright, 
Book  3,  Plants  and  Animals. 

LESSON  3 
How  BIRDS  FLY 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  A  bird  flies  by 
pressing  down  upon  the  air  with  its  wings, 
which  are  made  especially  for  this  pur- 
pose. The  bird's  tail  acts  as  a  rudder  dur- 
ing flight. 

METHOD  — The  hen,  it  is  hoped,  will 
by  this  time  be  tame  enough  so  that  the 
teacher  may  spread  open  her  wings  for 
the  children  to  see.  In  addition,  have  a 
detached  wing  of  a  fowl  such  as  is  used  in 
farmhouses  instead  of  a  whisk-broom. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Do  you  think  a 
bird's  wings  correspond  to  our  arms?  If 
so  why? 

2.  Why  do  birds  flap  their  wings  when 
they  start  to  fly? 

3.  Can  you  press  against  the  air  with 
a  fan? 

4.  Why  do  you  jump  so  high  with  a 
vaulting  pole?  Do  you  think  the  bird  uses 
the  air  as  you  use  the  pole? 


BIRDS 


5.  How  are  the  feathers  arranged  on  the 
wing  so  that  the  bird  can  use  it  to  press 
on  the  air? 

6.  If  you  carry  an  umbrella  on  a  windy 
morning,  which  catches  more  wind,  the 
under  or  the  top  side?  Why  is  this?  Does 
the  curved  surface  of  the  wing  act  in  the 
same  way? 

7.  Take  a  wing  feather.  Are  the  barbs 
as  long  on  one  side  of  the  quill  as  on  the 
other?  Do  they  lie  at  the  same  angle  from 
the  quill  on  both  sides?  If  not  why? 

8.  Which  side  of  the  quill  lies  on  the 
outer  side  and  which  on  the  inner  side  of 
the  wing? 

9.  Is  the  quill  of  the  feather  curved? 

10.  Which  side  is  uppermost  in  the 
wing,  the  convex  or  the  concave  side? 
Take  a  quill  in  one  hand  and  press  the 
tip  against  the  other  hand.  Which  way 
does  it  bend  more  easily,  toward  the  con- 


vex or  the  concave  side?  What  has  this  to 
do  with  the  flight  of  the  bird? 

^11.  If  trie  bird  flies  by  pressing  the 
wings  against  the  air  on  the  down  stroke, 
why  does  it  not  push  itself  downward  with 
its  wings  on  the  up  stroke? 

12.  What  is  the  shape  and  arrangement 
of  the  feathers  which  prevent  pushing  the 
bird  back  to  earth  when  it  lifts  its  wings? 

13.  Why  do  you  have  a  rudder  to  a 
boat? 

14.  Do  you  think  a  bird  could  sail 
through  the  air  without  something  to  steer 
with?  What  is  the  bird's  rudder? 

15.  Have  you  ever  seen  a  young  bird 
whose  tail  is  not  yet  grown,  try  to  fly? 
If  so,  how  did  it  act? 

16.  Does  the  hen  when  she  flies  keep 
the  tail  closed  or  open  like  a  fan? 

17.  Compare  a  tail  feather  with  a  wing 
feather  and  describe  the  difference. 


MIGRATION  OF  BIRDS 


The  travelogues  of  birds  are  as  fascinat- 
ing as  our  favorite  stories  of  fairies,  ad- 
venture, and  fiction.  If  we  could  accom- 
pany certain  birds,  such  as  the  Arctic 
terns,  on  their  spring  and  autumn  trips, 
the  logs  of  the  trips  would  be  far  more  ex- 
citing than  some  recorded  by  famous  avia- 
tors. The  Arctic  tern  seems  to  hold  the 
record  for  long-distance  flight.  Its  nest  is 
made  within  the  bounds  of  the  Arctic  cir- 
cle and  its  winter  home  is  in  the  region  of 
the  Antarctic  circle.  The  round-trip  mile- 
age for  this  bird  during  a  year  is  about 
22,000  miles.  Wells  W.  Cooke,  a  pioneer 
student  of  bird  migration,  has  called  atten- 
tion to  the  interesting  fact  that  the  Arctic 
tern  "  has  more  hours  of  daylight  than  any 
other  animal  on  the  globe.  At  the  north- 
ern nesting-site  the  midnight  sun  has 
already  appeared  before  the  birds'  arrival, 
and  it  never  sets  during  their  entire 
stay  at  the  breeding  grounds.  During  two 
months  of  their  sojourn  in  the  Antarctic 
the  birds  do  not  see  a  sunset,  and  for  the 
rest  of  the  time  the  sun  dips  only  a  little 
way  below  the  horizon  and  broad  day- 


light is  continuous.  The  birds,  therefore, 
have  twenty-four  hours  of  daylight  for  at 
least  eight  months  in  the  year,  and  during 
the  other  four  months  have  considerably 
more  daylight  than  darkness."  It  is  true 
that  few  of  our  birds  take  such  long  trips 
as  does  the  Arctic  tern;  but  most  birds  do 
travel  for  some  distance  each  spring  and 
fall. 

Each  season  brings  to  our  attention  cer- 
tain changes  in  the  bird  population.  Dur- 
ing late  summer,  we  see  great  flocks  of 
swallows;  they  are  on  telephone  or  tele- 
graph wires,  wire  fences,  clothes  lines,  or 
aerial  wires.  They  twitter  and  flutter  and 
seem  all  excited.  For  a  few  days,  as  they 
prepare  for  their  southern  journey,  they 
are  seen  in  such  groups,  and  then  are 
seen  no  more  until  the  following  spring. 
Some  birds  do  not  gather  in  flocks  before 
leaving  for  the  winter;  they  just  disappear 
and  we  scarcely  know  when  they  go.  We 
may  hear  their  call  notes  far  over  our 
heads  as  they  wing  their  way  to  theii 
winter  homes.  Some  birds  migrate  only 
during  the  day,  others  go  only  during  the 


36 


ANIMALS 


night,  and  others  may  travel  by  either  day 
or  night. 

Those  birds  that  do  not  migrate  are 
called  permanent  residents.  In  the  east- 
ern United  States  chickadees,  jays?  downy 


After  Cooke 

The  migration  routes  of  the  golden  plover. 
The  dotted  area  is  the  summer  home  and 
nesting  place;  the  black  area  is  the  winter 
home.  Migration  routes  are  indicated  by  ar- 
rows. On  the  southern  route  the  plover  makes 
a  flight  of  2,400  miles  from  Labrador  to  South 
America 

woodpeckers,  nuthatches,  grouse,  and 
pheasants  are  typical  examples  of  the  per- 
manent resident  group.  These  birds  must 
be  able  to  secure  food  under  even  the 
most  adverse  conditions.  Much  of  their 
food  is  insect  life  found  in  or  about  trees; 
some  fruits  and  buds  of  trees,  shrubs,  and 
vines  are  also  included  in  their  diet. 

Birds  that  travel  are  called  migratory 
birds.  If  the  spring  migrants  remain  with 
us  for  the  summer,  we  call  them  our  sum- 
mer residents.  Fall  migrants  that  remain 
with  us  for  the  winter  are  called  winter 
residents.  The  migrants  that  do  not  re- 
main with  us  but  pass  on  to  spend  the 
summer  or  winter  in  some  other  area  are 
called  our  transients  or  visitors.  Of  course, 
we  must  remember  that  the  birds  which 
visit  us  only  for  a  short  time  are  summer 
residents  and  winter  residents  in  other 


parts  of  the  country.  Our  summer  resi- 
dents are  the  winter  residents  of  some 
other  area. 

In  spring  we  await  with  interest  the 
arrival  of  the  first  migrants.  These  birds 
are,  in  general,  those  which  have  spent 
the  winter  only  a  comparatively  short  dis- 
tance away.  In  the  eastern  United  States, 
we  expect  robins,  red-winged  blackbirds, 
song  sparrows,  and  bluebirds  among  the 
earliest  migrants.  In  many  species  the 
males  arrive  first;  they  may  come  as  much 
as  two  weeks  ahead  of  the  females.  The 
immature  birds  are  usually  the  last  to  ar- 
rive. The  time  of  arrival  of  the  first  mi- 
grants is  determined  somewhat  by  weather 
conditions;  their  dates  cannot  be  pre- 
dicted with  as  much  accuracy  as  can  those 
of  birds  which,  having  spent  the  winter  at 
a  greater  distance  from  us,  arrive  later 
when  the  weather  is  more  favorable.  In 
some  places,  for  example  at  Ithaca,  New 
York,  bird  records  have  been  kept  each 
season  for  more  than  thirty  years.  With 
the  information  from  these  records,  it  is 
possible  to  indicate  almost  to  a  day  when 
certain  birds,  such  as  barn  swallows,  ori- 
oles, or  hummingbirds,  may  be  expected 
to  arrive.  Usually  the  very  first  birds  of  a 
kind  to  arrive  are  those  individuals  which 
will  within  a  few  days  continue  their 
northward  journey.  The  later  arrivals  are 
usually  those  that  remain  to  become  sum- 
mer residents.  In  some  species  all  indi- 
viduals are  migrants;  for  southern  New 
York  the  white-throated  sparrow  is  repre- 
sentative of  such  a  group.  It  winters  far- 
ther south  and  nests  farther  north  than 
southern  New  York. 

Why  do  birds  migrate?  This  question 
has  often  been  asked;  but  in  answer  to 
it  we  must  say  that  while  we  know  much 
about  where  birds  go  and  how  fast  they 
travel,  we  still  know  actually  very  little 
about  the  reasons  for  their  regular  seasonal 
journeys. 

As  the  airplane  pilot  has  man-made  in- 
struments to  aid  him  in  reaching  a  certain 
airport,  so  the  birds  have  a  well-developed 
sense  of  direction  which  guides  them  to 
their  destination.  Each  kind  of  bird 
seems,  in  general,  to  take  the  route  fol- 


BIRDS 


37 


lowed  by  its  ancestors;  but  this  route  edited  by  Gilbert  Grosvenor  and  Alex- 
may  be  varied  if  for  any  reason  food  ander  Wetmore;  The  Children's  Boot  of 
should  become  scarce  along  the  way.  Such  Birds  (  First  Book  of  Birds  and  Second 
routes  are  so  exactly  followed  year  after  Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne  Miller; 
year  that  they  are  known  as  laiies  of  mi-  Flight  Speed  of  Birds,  by  May  Thacher 
gration.  Persons  desiring  to  study  a  cer-  Cooke  (U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture, 
tain  species  of  bird  can  have  excellent  op- 
portunities to  do  so  by  being  at  some 
good  vantage  point  along  this  lane.  Some- 
times undue  advantage  has  been  taken  of 
certain  birds,  especially  hawks.  Persons 
desiring  to  kill  these  birds  have  collected 
at  strategic  points  along  the  lanes  and 
wantonly  killed  many  of  them.  As  a  result 
of  such  activities  sanctuaries  have  been 
established  at  certain  places  along  the 
lanes  to  give  added  protection  to  birds. 

The  routes  north  and  south  followed 
by  a  given  species  of  bird  may  lead 
over  entirely  different  parts  of  the  country; 
these  are  called  double  migration  routes. 
They  may  vary  so  much  that  one  route 
may  lead  chiefly  over  land  while  the  other 
may  lead  over  the  ocean.  The  golden 
plover  is  an  example  of  such  a  case.  See 
the  migration  map. 

Much  valuable  information  as  well  as 
pleasure  can  be  gained  from  keeping  a 
calendar  of  migration  and  other  activities 
of  birds.  It  is  especially  interesting  dur- 
ing the  spring  months  when  first  arrivals 
are  recorded  if  daily  lists  are  made  of  all 
species  observed.  In  summer,  nesting  ac- 
tivities and  special  studies  of  an  individual 

species  provide  something  of  interest  for  Circular  428);  The  Migration  of  North 
each  day.  More  pleasure  can  be  derived  American  Birds,  by  Frederick  C.  Lincoln 
from  the  hobby  if  several  people  take  it  (U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture,  Circu- 
up  and  compare  their  findings.  Interests  lar  363);  Nature—  by  Seaside  and  Way- 
in  photography,  sketching,  or  nature-story  side,  by  Mary  G.  Phillips  and  Julia  M. 
writing  are  natural  companions  of  such  Wright,  Book  3,  Plants  and  Animals;  Our 
bird  study.  Winter  Birds,  by  Frank  M.  Chapman; 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Bird  Friends,  by  Pathways  in  Science,  by  Gerald  S.  Craig 
Gilbert  H.  Trafton;  Bird  Life,  by  Frank  and  Co-authors,  Book  2,  Out-of-doors, 
M.  Chapman;  Birds  and  Their  Attributes,  Book  5,  Learning  about  Our  World;  The 
by  Glover  M.  Allen;  Birds  of  America,  ed-  Stir  of  Nature,  by  William  H.  Can;  Trav- 
ited  by  T.  Gilbert  Pearson;  Birds  of  New  eling  with  the  Birds,  by  Rudyerd  Boulton; 
York,  by  E.  H.  Eaton;  The  Boole  of  Bird  The  Travels  of  Birds,  by  Frank  M.  Chap- 
Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Book  of  Birds,  man. 


©  General  Biological  Supply  House,  Chicago 

The  travels  of  the  bobolink.  The  migration 
routes  0)  the  bobolink  are  shorter  than  those 
of  the  plover  and  follow  land  more  closely 


ANIMALS 


EYES  AND  EARS  OF  BIRDS 


The  hen's  eyes  are  placed  at  the  side 
of  the  head  so  that  she  cannot  see  the 
same  object  with  both  eyes  at  the  same 
time,  and  thus  she  has  the  habit  of  looking 
at  us  first  with  one  eye  and  then  the  other 
to  be  sure  she  sees  correctly.  The  position 
of  the  hen's  eyes  gives  her  a  command  of 
her  entire  environment.  All  birds  have 
much  keener  eyes  than  we  have;  and  they 
can  adjust  their  eyes  for  either  near  or 
far  vision  much  more  effectively  than  we 
can;  some  hawks,  flying  high  in  the  air, 
can  see  mice  on  the  ground. 

A  wide  range  of  colors  is  found  in  the 
eyes  of  birds:  white,  red,  blue,  yellow, 
brown,  gray,  pink,  purple,  and  green  are 
found  in  the  iris  of  different  species.  The 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 


A  duck  hawk.  Notice  the  strong  hooked 
beak,  the  keen  eye,  and  the  prominent 
nostril 

hen's  eye  consists  of  a  black  pupil  at  the 
center,  which  must  always  be  black  in 
any  eye,  since  it  is  a  hole  through  which 
enters  the  image  of  the  object.  The  iris  of 
the  hen's  eye  is  yellow;  there  is  apparently 
no  upper  lid,  but  the  lower  lid  comes  up 
during  the  process  of  sleeping.  When  the 
bird  is  drowsy  the  little  film  lid  comes 


out  from  the  corner  of  the  eye  and  spreads 
over  it  like  a  veil;  just  at  the  corner  of  our 
own  eye,  next  the  nose,  is  the  remains  of 
this  film  lid,  although  we  cannot  move  it 
as  the  hen  does. 

The  hearing  of  birds  is  very  acute,  al- 
though in  most  cases  the  ear  is  simply 
a  hole  in  the  side  of  the  head,  and  is  more 
or  less  covered  with  feathers.  The  hen's 
ear  is  like  this  in  many  varieties  of  chick- 
ens; but  in  others  and  in  the  roosters  there 
are  ornamental  ear  lobes. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Children's 
Boole  of  Birds  (  First  Book  of  Birds  and 
Second  Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne 
Miller. 

LESSON  4 
EYES  AND  EARS  OF  BIRDS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  eyes  and  ears 
of  birds  are  peculiar  and  very  efficient. 

METHOD  — -  The  hen  or  chicken  and  the 
rooster  should  be  observed  for  this  lesson; 
notes  may  be  made  in  the  poultry  yard  or 
in  the  schoolroom  when  the  birds  are 
brought  there  for  study. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Why  does  the  hen 
turn  her  head  first  this  side  and  then  that 
as  she  looks  at  you?  Can  she  see  an  object 
with  both  eyes  at  once?  Can  she  see  well? 

2.  How  many  colors  are  there  in  a  hen's 
eye?  Describe  the  pupil  and  the  iris. 

3.  Does  the  hen  wink  as  we  do?  Has 
she  any  eyelids? 

4.  Can  you  see  the  film  lid?  Does  it 
come  from  above  or  below  or  the  inner  or 
outer  corner?  When  do  you  see  this  film 
lid? 

5.  Where  are  the  hen's  ears?  How  do 
they  look?  How  can  you  tell  where  the 
rooster's  ears  are? 

6.  Do  you  think  the  hen  can  see  and 
hear  well? 


BIRDS 


39 


THE  FORM  AND  USE  OF  BEAKS 


Since  the  bird  uses  its  arms  and  hands 
for  flying,  it  has  been  obliged  to  develop 
other  organs  to  take  their  place,  and  of 
their  work  the  beak  does  its  full  share.  It 
is  well  to  emphasize  this  point  by  letting 
the  children  at  recess  play  the  game  of 
trying  to  eat  an  apple  or  to  put  up  their 
books  and  pencils  with  their  arms  tied 
behind  them;  such,  an  experiment  will 
show  how  naturally  the  teeth  and  feet 
come  to  the  aid  when  the  hands  are  use- 
less. 

The  hen  feeds  upon  seeds  and  insects 
which  she  finds  on  or  in  the  ground;  her 
beak  is  horny  and  sharp  and  acts  not  only 
as  a  pair  of  nippers,  but  also  as  a  pick  as 
she  strikes  it  into  the  soil  to  get  the  seed 


A.  A.  Allen 

A  red-eyed  vireo  repairing  her  nest 

or  insect.  She  has  already  made  the  place 
bare  by  scratching  away  the  grass  or  sur- 
face of  the  soil  with  her  strong,  stubby 
toes.  The  hen  does  not  have  any  teeth, 
nor  does  she  need  any,  for  her  sharp  beak 
enables  her  to  seize  her  food;  and  she 
does  not  need  to  chew  it,  since  her  gizzard 
does  this  for  her  after  the  food  is  swal- 
lowed. 

The  duck's  bill  is  broad,  flat,  and  much 
softer  than  the  hen's  beak.  The  duck  feeds 
upon  water  insects  and  plants;  it  obtains 
these  by  thrusting  its  head  down  into  the 
water,  seizing  the  food,  and  holding  it 


fast  while  the  water  is  strained  out  through 
the  sieve  at  the  edges  of  the  beak;  for  this 
use,  a  wide,  flat  beak  is  necessary.  It  would 
be  quite  as  impossible  for  a  duck  to  pick 
up  hard  seeds  with  its  broad,  soft  bill  as  it 
would  for  the  hen  to  get  the  duck's  food 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

These  holes  were  made  by  a  pileated  wood- 
pecker in  search  of  insects 

out  of  the  water  with  her  narrow,  horny 
bill. 

Both  the  duck  and  hen  use  their  bills 
for  cleaning  and  oiling  their  feathers  and 
for  fighting  also;  the  hen  strikes  a  sharp 
blow  with  her  beak,  making  a  wound  like 
a  dagger,  while  the  duck  seizes  the  enemy 
and  simply  pinches  hard.  Both  fowls  also 
use  their  beaks  for  turning  over  the  eggs 
when  incubating,  and  also  as  an  aid  to  the 
feet  when  they  make  nests  for  themselves. 

The  nostrils  are  very  noticeable  and  are 
situated  in  the  beak  near  the  base.  How- 
ever, we  do  not  believe  that  birds  have  a 
keen  sense  of  smell,  since  their  nostrils  are 
not  surrounded  by  a  damp,  sensitive,  soft 
surface  as  are  the  nostrils  of  the  deer  and 
dog.  This  arrangement  aids  these  animals 
to  detect  odor  in  a  marvelous  manner. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Bird  Book, 
by  Fannie  H.  Eckstorm;  Bird  Life,  by 


4° 


ANIMALS 


Frank  M.  Chapman;  The  Book  of  Bird 
Life,  by  A,  A.  Allen;  The  Boole  of  Birds, 
edited  "by  Gilbert  Grosvenor  and  Alex- 
ander Wetmore;  The  Children's  Book  of 
Birds  (First  Book  of  Birds  and  Second 
Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne  Miller; 
Nature  — by  Seaside  and  Wayside,  by 
Mary  G.  Phillips  and  Julia  M.  Wright, 
Book  3,  Plants  and  Animals. 

LESSON  5 
THE  BEAK  OF  A  BIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Each  kind  of  bird 
has  a  beak  especially  adapted  for  getting 
its  food.  The  beak  and  feet  of  a  bird  are 
its  chief  weapons  and  implements. 

METHOD  —  Study  first  the  beak  of  the 
hen  or  chick  and  then  that  of  the  duckling 
or  gosling. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  What  kind  of  food 
does  the  hen  eat  and  where  and  how  does 
she  find  it  in  the  field  or  garden?  How  is 
her  beak  adapted  to  get  this  food?  If  her 
beak  were  soft  like  that  of  a  duck  could 
she  peck  so  hard  for  seeds  and  worms? 
Has  the  hen  any  teeth?  Does  she  need 
any? 

2.  Compare  the  bill  of  the  hen  with 
that  of  the  duck.  What  are  the  differ- 
ences in  shape?  Which  is  the  harder? 

3.  Note  the  saw  teeth  along  the  edge 
of  the  duck's  bill.  Are  these  for  chewing? 
Do  they  act  as  a  strainer?  Why  does  the 
duck  need  to  strain  its  food? 

4.  Could  a  duck  pick  up  a  hen's  food 
from  the  earth  or  the  hen  strain  out  a 
duck's  food  from  the  water?  For  what 
other  things  than  getting  food  do  these 
fowls  use  their  bills? 

5.  Can  you  see  the  nostrils  in  the  bill 
of  a  hen?  Do  they  show  plainer  in  the 
duck?  Do  you  think  the  hen  can  smell  as 
keenly  as  the  duck? 


It  is  said  that  nature-study  teaching 
should  be  accurate,  a  statement  that  every 
good  teacher  will  admit  without  debate; 
but  accuracy  is  often  interpreted  to  mean 
completeness,  and  then  the  statement 
cannot  pass  unchallenged.  To  study  "  the 
dandelion"  "  the  robin/7  with  emphasis 
on  the  particle  "  the/'  working  out  the 
complete  structure,  may  be  good  labora- 
tory work  in  botany  or  zoology  for  ad- 
vanced pupils,  but  it  is  not  an  elementary 
educational  process.  It  contributes  noth- 
ing more  to  accuracy  than  does  the  natural 
order  of  leaving  untouched  all  those 
phases  of  the  subject  that  are  out  of  the 
child's  reach;  while  it  may  take  out  the 
life  and  spirit  of  the  work,  and  the  spiritual 
quality  may  be  the  very  part  that  is  most 
worth  the  while.  Other  work  may  provide 
the  formal  "  drill  ";  this  should  supply  the 
quality  and  vivacity.  Teachers  often  say  to 
me  that  their  children  have  done  excellent 
work  with  these  complete  methods,  and 
they  show  me  the  essays  and  drawings; 
but  this  is  no  proof  that  the  work  is  com- 
mendable. Children  can  be  made  to  do 
many  things  that  they  ought  not  to  do  and 
that  lie  beyond  them.  We  all  need  to  go 
to  school  to  children.  —  "  THE  OUTLOOK 
TO  NATURE/'  L.  H.  BAILEY 

Weather  and  wind  and  waning  moon, 

Plain  and  hilltop  under  the  sky, 
Ev'ning,  morning  and  blazing  noon, 

Brother  of  all  the  world  am  1. 
The  pine-tree,  linden  and  the  maize, 

The  insect,  squirrel  and  the  kine, 
All  —  natively  they  live  their  days  — 

As  they  live  theirs,  so  I  live  mine, 
I  know  not  where,  I  know  not  what:  — 

Believing  none  and  doubting  none 
Whatever  befalls  it  counteth  not,  — 

Nature  and  Time  and  I  are  one. 

—  L.  H.  BAILEY 


THE  FEET  OF  BIRDS 


Obviously,  the  hen  is  a  digger  of  the 
soil;  her  claws  are  long,  strong,  and  slightly 
hooked,  and  her  feet  and  legs  are  covered 
with  horny  scales.  These  scales  protect  her 


feet  from  injury  when  they  are  used  in 
scratching  the  hard  earth  to  lay  bare  the 
seeds  and  insects  hiding  there.  The  hen 
is  a  very  good  runner  indeed.  She  lifts 


BIRDS 


41 


her  wings  a  little  to  help,  much  as  an 
athletic  runner  uses  his  arms,  and  so  can 
cover  ground  with  amazing  rapidity,  her 
strong  toes  giving  her  a  firm  foothold.  The 
track  she  makes  is  very  characteristic;  it 
consists  of  three  toe-marks  projecting  for- 
ward and  one  backward.  A  bird's  toes  are 
numbered  thus:  the  hind  toe  is  number 
one,  the  inner  toe  number  two,  the  mid- 
dle toe  three,  and  the  outer  toe  four. 


Duck's  foot  and  hen's  foot  with 
toes  numbered 

A  duck  has  the  same  number  of  toes  as 
the  hen,  but  there  is  a  membrane,  called 
the  web,  which  joins  the  second,  third, 
and  fourth  toes,  making  a  fan-shaped  foot; 
the  first  or  hind  toe  has  a  little  web  of 
its  own.  A  webbed  foot  is  first  of  all  a 
paddle  for  propelling  its  owner  through 
the  water;  it  is  also  a  very  useful  foot  on 
the  shores  of  ponds  and  streams,  since  its 
breadth  and  flatness  prevent  it  from  sink- 
ing into  the  soft  mud. 

The  duck's  legs  are  shorter  than  those 
of  the  hen  and  are  placed  farther  back 
and  wider  apart.  They  are  essentially 
swimming  organs  and  are  not  fitted  for 
scratching  or  for  running.  They  are 
placed  at  the  sides  of  the  bird's  body  so 
that  they  may  act  as  paddles,  and  are 
farther  back  so  that  they  may  act  like  the 
wheel  of  a  propeller  in  pushing  the  bird 
along.  We  often  laugh  at  a  duck  on  land, 
since  its  short  legs  are  so  far  apart  and  so 
far  back  that  its  walk  is  necessarily  an  awk- 
ward waddle;  but  we  must  always  remem- 
ber that  the  duck  is  naturally  a  water  bird, 
and  on  the  water  its  movements  are  grace- 
ful. Think  how  a  hen  would  appear  if 
she  attempted  to  swim!  The  duck's  body 
is  so  poorly  balanced  on  its  short  legs  that 
it  cannot  run  rapidly;  and  if  chased  even 
a  short  distance  it  will  fall  dead  from  the 
effort,  as  many  a  country  child  has  dis- 
covered to  his  sorrow  when  he  tried  to 
drive  the  ducks  home  from  the  creek  or 


pond  to  coop.  The  long  hind  claw  of  the 
hen  enables  her  to  clasp  a  roost  firmly 
during  the  night;  a  duck's  foot  could  not 
do  this  and  the  duck  sleeps  squatting  on 


^ 

©  General  Biological  Supply  House,  Chicago 

Types  oj  bills  and  feet 

the  ground.  However,  the  Muscovy  ducks, 
which  are  not  good  swimmers,  have  been 
known  to  perch. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Bird  Book, 
by  Fannie  H.  Eckstorm;  Bird  Life,  by 
Frank  M.  Chapman;  Birds  and  Their  At- 
tributes, by  Glover  M.  Allen;  The  Book  of 
Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Children's 
Boole  of  Birds  (First  Book  of  Birds  and 
Second  Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne 
Miller;  Nature  —  by  Seaside  and  Wayside, 
by  Mary  G,  Phillips  and  Julia  M.  Wright, 
Book  3,  Plants  and  Animals. 

LESSON  6 
THE  FEET  OF  BIRDS 
LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  feet  of  birds 
are  shaped  so  as  to  assist  the  bird  in  get- 
ting its  food  as  well  as  for  locomotion. 
METHOD  —  The  pupils  should  have  op- 


ANIMALS 


portunity  to  observe  the  chicken  or  hen 
and  a  duck  as  they  move  about;  they 
should  also  observe  the  duck  swimming. 
OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Are  the  toes  of  the 
hen  long  and  strong?  Have  they  long, 
sharp  claws  at  their  tips? 

2.  How  are  the  legs  and  feet  of  the 
hen  covered  and  protected? 

3.  How  are  the  hen's  feet  and  legs  fitted 
for  scratching  the  earth,  and  why  does  she 
wish  to  scratch  the  earth? 

4.  Can  a  hen  run  rapidly?  What  sort  of 
track  does  she  make? 

5.  You  number  your  fingers  with  the 
thumb  as  number  one  and  the  little  finger 
as  five.  How  do  you  think  the  hen's  toes 
are  numbered? 


6.  Has  the  duck  as  many  toes  as  the 
hen?  What  is  the  chief  difference  between 
the  feet  of  the  duck  and  of  the  hen? 

7.  Which  of  the  duck's  toes  are  con- 
nected by  a  web?  Does  the  web  extend  to 
the  tips  of  the  toes?  How  does  the  web 
help  the  duck? 

8.  Are  the  duck's  legs  as  long  as  the 
hen's?  Are  they  placed  farther  forward  or 
farther  back  than  those  of  the  hen?  Are 
they  farther  apart? 

9.  Can  a  duck  run  as  well  as  a  hen?  Can 
the  hen  swim  at  all? 

10.  Where  does  the  hen  sleep  and  how 
does  she  hold  on  to  her  perch?  Could  the 
duck  hold  on  to  a  perch?  Does  the  duck 
need  to  perch  while  sleeping? 


SONGS  OF  BIRDS 


Anyone  who  attempts  to  recognize 
birds  by  sight  alone  misses  much  of  the 
pleasure  that  comes  to  those  who  have 


±.Wood  Thrushes. 


A-.  O|ivc -b<w.ke4  Thru*/*. 

J-.»32.r 


*    •,    J&l 


gy 


"*' ( Ph.ro  $<s) <Cflne*verO 

taken  the  time  and  pains  to  learn  bird 
songs  and  use  them  as  a  means  of  bird 
recognition.  It  is  true  that  not  all  people 
have  a  talent  for  music;  but  anyone  in- 
terested in  birds  can  learn  to  identify  the 
songs  and  most  of  the  call  notes  of  com- 
mon birds. 


The  observer  will  notice  that  in  most 
cases  only  the  male  bird  sings,  but  a  few 
exceptions  are  recorded,  notably  the  fe- 
male rose-breasted  grosbeak  and  cardinal 
grosbeak,  which  sing  under  some  condi- 
tions. Birds  do  most  of  their  singing  in  the 
early  morning  and  during  the  spring  and 
early  summer  months.  The  male  birds 
have  not  only  a  favorite  time  of  day  and 
a  particular  season  of  the  year  during 
which  they  do  most  of  their  singing,  but 
they  even  have  a  certain  perch  or  narrowly 
defined  territory  from  which  they  sing. 

Each  person  will  need  to  decide  how  he 
can  best  remember  bird  songs.  Most  peo- 
ple will  doubtless  use  such  methods  as 
were  used  by  earlier  bird  students.  Long 
literary  descriptions  were  given  for  each 
song.  Alexander  Wilson,  for  instance,  de- 
scribes the  call  of  the  male  blue  jay  as 
"  repeated  creakings  of  an  ungreased 
wheelbarrow."  Often  the  call  of  a  particu- 
lar bird  is  put  into  words;  in  many  cases 
these  words  have  come  to  be  accepted  as 
the  common  name  of  the  bird,  such  as 
bobwhite  and  whip-poor-will.  The  imagi- 
nation of  students  may  suggest  certain 
words  to  represent  the  song  or  call  notes 
of  a  bird.  These  are  often  more  easily  re- 
membered than  the  song  itself. 

Some   ornithologists   have   developed 


BIRDS 

complicated  systems  of  recording  bird 
songs  as  musical  scores.  Wilson  Flagg  and 
F.  S.  Mathews  are  well-known  names  in 
this  field.  Such  a  method  has  its  limita- 
tions because  many  variations  of  bird 
songs  cannot  be  indicated  by  the  charac- 
ters used  in  writing  music.  The  song  of  a 
bird  written  as  music  is  not  usually  recog- 
nizable when  played  on  a  musical  instru- 
ment. Other  ornithologists  have  devel- 
oped more  graphic  methods  of  recording 
bird  songs.  One  leader  in  this  field,  A.  A. 
Saunders,  has  proposed  and  used  a  system 
employing  lines,  dots?  dashes,  and  sylla- 
bles. This  system  is  very  interesting  and  is 
a  useful  one  to  a  person  who  has  a  good 
ear  for  music.  One  of  the  latest  methods 
of  recording  bird  songs  has  been  devel- 
oped by  the  Department  of  Ornithology, 
Cornell  University,  Ithaca,  New  York.  By 


43 

this  method  bird  songs  are  photographed 
on  moving  picture  film  and  later  may  be 
recorded  on  phonograph  records;  these 
records  can  be  played  over  and  over  again 
to  give  the  student  practice  in  identifying 
bird  songs.  Sound  pictures  have  also  been 
produced;  the  pictures  of  the  various  birds 
are  shown  on  the  screen  as  their  songs  are 
being  heard  by  the  audience. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Bird  Friends,  by 
Gilbert  H.  Trafton;  Birds  and  Their  Attri- 
butes, by  Glover  M.  Allen;  The  Boole  of 
Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Bool:  of 
Birds,  edited  by  Gilbert  Grosvenor  and 
Alexander  Wetmore;  Field  Boot  of  Wild 
Birds  and  Their  Music,  by  F.  Schuyler 
Mathews;  A  Guide  to  Bird  Songs,  by 
Aretas  A.  Saunders;  Songs  of  Wild  Birds 
and  More  Songs  of  Wild  Birds,  by  Albert 
R.  Brand. 


ATTRACTING  BIRDS 


If  suitable  and  sufficient  food,  water, 
shelter,  and  nesting  sites  are  provided,  and 
if  protection  is  given  from  such  enemies 
as  cats  and  thoughtless  men,  it  is  possi- 
ble to  attract  many  kinds  of  birds  to 
home  grounds  or  gardens.  The  most  logi- 
cal time  to  begin  to  attract  birds  is  during 
the  winter  months;  but  the  best  time  is 
whenever  one  is  really  interested  and  is 
willing  to  provide  the  things  most  needed 
by  the  birds.  Certain  types  of  food,  such 
as  suet  or  sunflower  seeds,  are  sought  by 
birds  at  any  season.  During  the  summer 
months  water  for  drinking  and  bathing 
may  be  more  desired  than  food,  but  in 
the  winter  almost  any  seeds,  fruits,  or 
fatty  foods  are  welcome. 

In  the  spring  nesting  boxes  properly 
constructed  and  placed  will  do  much  to 
attract  some  kinds  of  birds,  especially 
those  that  normally  nest  in  holes  in  trees. 
An  abundance  of  choice  nesting  materials 
will  entice  orioles,  robins,  or  chipping 
sparrows  to  nest  near  by.  Straws,  sticks, 
feathers,  cotton,  strings,  or  even  hairs 
from  old  mattresses  may  be  put  out  as  in- 
ducements to  prospective  bird  tenants. 


An  invitation  to  our  garden  friends  to  par- 
take of  suet  and  peanuts  in  addition  to  their 
regular  fare 

The  spring  is  also  a  good  time  to  plant 
fruit-bearing  trees,  shrubs,  and  vines;  these 


ANIMALS 


A  bird  bath  in  the  author's  garden 

natural  food  counters  become  more  attrac- 
tive each  year  as  they  grow  larger  and  pro- 
duce more  fruit  and  better  nesting  places 
for  birds. 

Autumn  is  the  ideal  time  to  establish 
feeding  centers  to  which  the  birds  may  be 
attracted  during  the  winter  months.  Food, 
such  as  suet  or  seeds,  should  be  put  at  a 
great  many  places  throughout  the  area  in 
which  one  wishes  to  attract  birds.  The 
birds  will  gradually  work  their  way  from 
one  of  these  feedings  points  to  another; 
soon  it  will  be  possible  to  concentrate  the 
feeding  at  one  point,  and  the  birds  will 
continue  to  come  to  that  point  as  long 
as  food  is  provided  there. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  A  B  C  of 
Attracting  Birds,  by  Alvin  M.  Peterson; 
Bird  Houses  Boys  Can  Build,  by  Albert  F. 
Siepert;  Birds  of  the  Wild  —  How  to 
Make  Your  Home  Their  Home,  by  Frank 
C.  Pellett;  Bird  Study  for  Schools  Series, 
published  by  the  National  Association  of 
Audubon  Societies  (Part  III,  Winter 
Feeding,  Part  IV,  Bird  Houses);  The 
Boole  of  Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Boy 


Bird  House  Arcliitecfure,  by  Leon  H.  Bax- 
ter; The  Children's  Book  of  Birds  (First 
Book  of  Birds  and  Second  Book  of  Birds), 
by  Olive  Thorne  Miller;  Homes  for  Birds, 
by  E.  R.  Kalmbach  and  W.  L.  McAtee 
(U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture,  Farm- 
ers' Bulletin  1456);  How  to  Attract  Birds 
in  Northeastern  United  States,  How  to 
Attract  Birds  in  Northwestern  United 
States,  How  to  Attract  Birds  in  the  Middle 
Atlantic  States,  How  to  Attract  Birds  in 
the  East  Central  States,  by  W.  L.  McAtee 
(U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture,  Farm- 
ers' Bulletins  621,  760,  844,  912);  How  to 
Have  Bird  Neighbors,  by  S.  Louise  Patte- 
son;  Our  Winter  Birds,  by  Frank  M. 
Chapman;  Permanent  Bird  Houses,  by 
Gladstone  Califf;  Song-bird  Sanctuaries, 
with  Tables  of  Trees,  Shrubs  and  Vines 
Attractive  to  Birds,  by  Roger  T.  Peterson; 
Wild  Bird  Guests,  by  Ernest  H.  Baynes; 
Methods  of  Attracting  Birds,  by  Gilbert 
H.  Trafton, 


Olin  Sewall  PetthifiiH,  Jr. 


Ruby-throated  hummingbird  attracted  to  a 
vial  containing  sweetened  water 


BIRDS 


45 


VALUE  OF  BIRDS 


Did  you  ever  try  to  calculate  in  dollars 
the  pleasure  that  you  receive  from  seeing 
or  hearing  the  first  spring  migrants?  The 
robin,  bluebird,  and  meadowlark  bring 
cheer  to  thousands  of  people  every  year. 
Indeed,  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  any- 
one, except  perhaps  in  large  cities,  who 
does  not  notice  the  arrival  of  at  least 
some  spring  birds  —  the  robins  on  the 
lawn,  the  honk  of  the  wild  geese  overhead, 
or  the  song  sparrows  as  they  sing  from  the 
top  of  a  shrub.  Birds  are  interesting  to 
most  people  because  of  their  mere  pres- 
ence, their  songs,  their  colors,  or  their 
habits.  Persons  engaged  in  nature-study 
are  led  outdoors  and  thus  have  opened  to 
them  many  other  nature  fields. 

One  needs  to  observe  a  bird  for  only 
a  short  time  to  discover  for  himself  what 
has  been  known  by  scientists  for  many 
years,  that  birds  are  of  great  economic 
importance.  Watch  a  chickadee  or  nut- 
hatch as  it  makes  its  feeding  rounds  on 
a  winter  day.  Note  how  carefully  each 
tiny  branch  is  covered  by  the  chickadee 
and  what  a  thorough  examination  of  the 
limbs  and  trunks  is  made  by  the  nuthatch. 
Countless  insect  eggs  as  well  as  insects 
are  consumed.  On  a  sunny  day  in  spring, 
observe  the  warblers  as  they  feed  about  the 
newly  opened  leaves  and  blossoms  of  the 
trees.  See  them  as  they  hunt  tirelessly  for 
their  quota  of  the  tiny  insects  so  small 
that  they  are  generally  overlooked  by 
larger  birds.  It  must  be  remembered  too 
that  some  birds  do,  at  times,  take  a  toll 
of  cultivated  crops;  this  is  especially  true 
of  the  seed-eating  and  insectivorous  birds. 
But  they  deserve  some  pay  for  the  work 
they  do  for  man,  and  so  in  reality  he  should 
not  begrudge  them  a  little  fruit  or  grain. 

Some  of  the  birds  of  prey  are  active  all 
the  time;  the  hawks  work  in  the  daytime 
and  the  owls  come  on  duty  for  the  night 
shift.  Countless  destructive  small  mam- 
mals and  insects  are  eaten  by  them;  thus 
they  tend  to  regulate  the  numbers  of 
numerous  small  pests  of  field  and  wood, 


thereby  preventing  serious  outbreaks  of 
such  animals.  There  has  been  much  dis- 
cussion of  the  real  economic  status  of 
hawks  and  owls;  many  food  studies  have 
been  made  and  the  general  conclusion  is 
that  most  species  are  more  useful  than 
harmful.  It  is  true  that  some  species  do 
take  a  toll  of  game  birds,  song  birds,  and 
poultry;  but  they  include  also  in  their  diet 
other  animal  forms,  many  of  which  are 
considered  harmful.  One  individual  bird 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  red-eyed  vireo  on  her  nest.  Vireos  live 
largely  on  insects  gleaned  jrom  the  under 
surfaces  of  leaves  and  jrom  crevices  in  bark 

may  be  especially  destructive  and  thus 
give  a  bad  name  to  an  entire  species. 

There  are  even  garbage  gatherers  among 
the  birds;  vultures,  gulls,  and  crows  serve 
in  this  capacity.  The  vultures  are  com- 
monly found  in  the  warmer  parts  of  the 
country  and  serve  a  most  useful  purpose 
by  their  habit  of  devouring  the  unburied 
bodies  of  dead  animals.  The  gulls  are  the 
scavengers  of  waterways  and  shore  lines. 
The  crow  is  omnivorous  —  that  is,  it  eats 
both  plant  and  animal  food;  but  it  seems 
to  like  carrion  as  well  as  fresh  meat. 

The  farmer  and  the  gardener  owe  quite 
a  debt  of  thanks  to  the  birds  that  eat  weed 
seeds.  Of  course  there  are  still  bountiful 
crops  of  weeds  each  year;  but  there  would 


Verne  Morton 


A  goldfinch  nest  in  winter 

be  even  more  weeds  if  it  were  not  for  the 
army  of  such  seed-eating  birds  as  spar- 
rows, bobwhites?  and  doves. 

The  game  birds,  such  as  grouse,  pheas- 
ant, and  bobwhite  are  important  today, 
chiefly  from  the  standpoint  of  the  recrea- 
tion they  afford  sportsmen  and  other 
lovers  of  the  outdoors.  The  food  habits  of 
game  birds  do  not  present  much  of  an 
economic  problem;  the  birds  are  not  nu- 
merous enough  at  the  present  time  to  be 
an  important  source  of  meat  for  man  as 
they  were  in  pioneer  days. 

Thus,  a  brief  consideration  of  a  few 
types  of  birds  will  show  even  a  casual 
observer  that  birds  have  economic  import- 
ance and  that  each  species  seems  to  have 
a  definite  work  to  perform. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Bird  Friends,  by 
Gilbert  H.  Trafton;  Birds  and  Their  At- 
tributes, by  Glover  M.  Allen;  Birds  in 
Their  Relation  to  Man,  by  Clarence  M. 
Weed  and  Ned  Dearborn;  The  Book  of 
Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  The  Book  of 
Birds,  edited  by  Gilbert  Grosvenor  and 
Alexander  Wetmore;  The  Children's 
Book  of  Birds  (  First  Book  of  Birds  and 
Second  Book  of  Birds),  by  Olive  Thorne 
Miller;  The  Practical  Value  of  Birds,  by 
Junius  Henderson. 

LESSON  7 

THE  STUDY  OF  BIRDS'  NESTS 
IN  WINTER 

There  are  very  good  reasons  for  not 
studying  birds'  nests  in  summer,  since  the 
birds  misinterpret  familiarity  on  the  part 


ANIMALS 

of  eager  children  and  are  likely,  in  con- 
sequence, to  abandon  both  nest  and  lo- 
cality. But  after  the  birds  have  gone  to 
sunnier  climes  and  the  empty  nests  are 
the  only  mementos  we  have  of  them,  then 
we  may  study  these  habitations  carefully 
and  learn  how  to  appreciate  properly 
the  small  architects  which  made  them. 
I  think  that  every  one  of  us  who  care- 
fully examines  the  way  that  a  nest  is  made 
must  have  a  feeling  of  respect  for  its 
clever  little  builder. 

I  know  of  certain  schools  where  the 
children  make  large  collections  of  these 
winter  nests,  properly  labeling  each,  and 
thus  gain  a  new  interest  in  the  bird  life 
of  their  locality.  A  nest  when  collected 
should  be  labeled  in  the  following  man- 
ner: 

The  name  of  the  bird  which  built  the 
nest. 

Where  the  nest  was  found. 

If  in  a  tree,  what  kind? 

How  high  from  the  ground? 

After  a  collection  of  nests  has  been 
made,  let  the  pupils  study  them  accord- 
ing to  the  following  outline: 

i.  Where  was  the  nest  found? 

(a)  If  on  the  ground,  describe  the  lo- 
cality. 

(b)  If  on  a  plant,  tree,  or  shrub,  tell 
the  species,  if  possible. 

(c)  If  on  a  tree,  tell  where  it  was  on 
a  branch  —  in  a  fork,  or  hanging  by  the 
end  of  the  twigs. 


l 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  homemade  wren  house  and  its  occupant 


BIRDS 


(d)  How  high  from  the  ground,  and 
what  was  the  locality? 

(e)  If  on  or  in  a  building,  how  situ- 
ated? 

2.  Did  the  nest  have  any  arrangement 
to  protect  it  from  rain? 

3.  Give  the  size  of  the  nest,  the  di- 
ameter of  the  inside  and  the  outside;  also 
the  depth  of  the  inside. 

4.  What  is  the  form  of  the  nest?  Are 
its  sides  flaring  or  straight?  Is  the  nest 
shaped  like  a  cup,  basket,  or  pocket? 

5.  What  materials  compose  the  out- 
side of  the  nest  and  how  are  they  ar- 
ranged? 

6.  Of  what  materials  is  the  lining  made, 
and  how  are  they  arranged?  If  hair  or 


47 


feathers  are  used,  on  what  creature  did 
they  grow? 

7.  How  are  the  materials  of  the  nest 
held  together,  that  is,  are  they  woven, 
plastered,  or  held  in  place  by  environ- 
ment? 

8.  Had    the    nest    anything    peculiar 
about  it  either  in  situation,  construction, 
or  material  that  would  tend  to  render  it 
invisible  to  the  casual  glance? 

SUGGESTED  READING  — The  Book  of 
Bird  Life,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Nature  —  by 
Seaside  and  Wayside,  by  Maw  G.  Phillips 
and  Julia  M.  Wright,  Book  3",  Plants  and 
Animals;  Ornithology  Laboratory  Note- 
book, by  A.  A.  Allen;  A  Year  in  the  Won- 
derland of  Birds,  by  Hallam  Hawksworth. 


Chicks,  a  few  days  old 


II,  S.  Department  of  Agriculture 


CHICKEN  WAYS 


Darne  Nature  certainly  pays  close  at- 
tention to  details.  An  instance  of  this  is 
the  little  tooth  on  the  tip  of  the  upper 
mandible  of  the  young  chick,  which  aids 
it  in  breaking  out  of  its  egg-shell  prison; 
since  a  tooth  in  this  particular  place 
is  of  no  use  later,  it  disappears.  The  chil- 
dren are  delighted  with  the  beauty  of  a 
fluffy  little  chick  with  its  bright,  question- 
ing eyes  and  its  life  of  activity  as  soon  as 


it  is  freed  from  the  shell.  What  a  contrast 
to  the  blind,  bare,  scrawny  young  robin, 
which  seems  to  be  all  mouth!  The  differ- 
ence between  the  two  is  fundamental 
since  it  gives  a  means  for  distinguishing 
ground  birds  from  perching  birds.  The 
young  partridge,  quail,  turkey,  and  chick 
are  clothed  and  active  and  ready  to  go 
with  the  mother  in  search  of  food  as  soon 
as  they  are  hatched;  while  the  young  of 


ANIMALS 


An  anxious  stepmother.  The  ducklings  'pay 
her  little  heed 

the  perching  birds  are  naked  and  blind, 
being  kept  warm  by  the  brooding  mother, 
and  fed  and  nourished  by  food  brought 
by  their  parents,  until  they  are  large 
enough  to  leave  the  nest.  The  down 
which  covers  the  young  chick  differs  from 
the  feathers  which  come  later;  the  down 
has  no  quill  but  consists  of  several  flossy 
threads  coming  from  the  same  root;  later 
on,  this  down  is  pushed  out  and  off  by 
the  true  feathers  which  grow  from  the 
same  sockets.  The  pupils  should  see  that 
the  down  is  so  soft  that  the  little,  fluffy 
wings  of  the  chick  are  useless  until  the 
real  wing  feathers  appear. 

We  chew  food  until  it  is  soft  and  fine, 
then  swallow  it,  but  the  chick  swallows  it 
whole;  after  being  softened  by  juices  from 
the  stomach  the  food  passes  into  a  little 
mill,  in  which  is  gravel  that  the  chicken 
has  swallowed.  This  gravel  helps  to  grind 
up  the  food.  This  mill  is  called  the  gizzard 
and  the  pupils  should  be  taught  to  look 
carefully  at  this  organ  the  next  time  they 
have  chicken  for  dinner.  A  chicken  has  no 
muscles  in  the  throat,  like  ours,  to  en- 
able it  to  swallow  water  as  we  do.  Thus, 
it  has  first  to  fill  its  beak  with  water,  then 
hold  it  up  so  the  water  will  flow  down 
the  throat.  As  long  as  the  little  chick  has 


its  mother's  wings  to  sleep  under,  it  does 
not  need  to  put  its  head  under  its  own 
wing;  but  when  it  grows  up  and  spends 
the  night  upon  a  roost,  it  usually  tucks 
its  head  under  its  wing  while  sleeping. 

The  conversation  of  the  barnyard  fowl 
covers  many  elemental  emotions  and  is 
easily  comprehended.  It  is  well  for  the 
children  to  understand  from  the  first  that 
the  notes  of  birds  mean  something  defi- 
nite. The  hen  clucks  when  she  is  lead- 
ing her  chicks  afield  so  that  they  will 
know  where  she  is  in  the  tall  grass;  the 
chicks  follow  "  cheeping  "  or  "  peeping/7 
as  the  children  say,  so  that  she  will  know 
where  they  are;  but  if  a  chick  feels  itself 
lost  its  "  peep  "  becomes  loud  and  dis- 
consolate; on  the  other  hand,  there  is  no 
sound  in  the  world  so  full  of  cosy  con- 
tentment as  the  low  notes  of  the  chick 
when  it  cuddles  under  the  mother's  wing. 
When  a  hen  finds  a  bit  of  food  she  utters 
rapid  notes  which  call  the  chicks  in  a 
hurry,  and  when  she  sees  a  hawk  she  gives 
a  warning  "  q-r-r "  which  makes  every 
chick  run  for  cover  and  keep  quiet.  When 
hens  are  taking  their  sun  and  dust  baths 
together,  they  seem  to  gossip  and  we  can 
almost  hear  them  saying,  "  Didn't  you 
think  Madam  Dorking  made  a  great  fuss 
over  her  egg  today?  "  Or,  "  That  over- 
grown young  rooster  has  got  a  crow  to 
match  his  legs,  hasn't  he? "  Contrast 
these  low  tones  with  the  song  of  the  hen 
as  she  issues  forth  in  the  first  warm  days 


Poultry  Dept.,  N.  Y.  State  College  of  Agriculture 

White  leghorns  are  prolific  layers 


BIRDS 


of  spring  and  gives  to  the  world  one  of  the 
most  joyous  songs  of  all  nature.  There  is 
quite  a  different  quality  in  the  triumphant 
cackle  of  a  hen  telling  to  the  world  that 
she  has  laid  an  egg  and  the  cackle  which 
comes  from  heing  startled.  When  a  hen 
is  sitting  or  is  not  allowed  to  sit,  she  is 
nervous  and  irritable,  and  voices  her 
mental  state  by  scolding.  When  she  is 
really  afraid,  she  squalls;  and  when  seized 
by  an  enemy,  she  utters  long,  horrible 
squawks.  The  rooster  crows  to  assure  his 
flock  that  all  is  well;  he  also  crows  to  show 
other  roosters  what  he  thinks  of  himself 
and  of  them.  The  rooster  also  has  other 
notes;  he  will  question  you  as  you  ap- 
proach him  and  his  flock,  and  he  will 
give  a  warning  note  when  he  sees  a  hawk; 
when  he  finds  some  dainty  tidbit,  he  calls 
his  flock  of  hens  to  him  and  they  usually 
arrive  just  in  time  to  see  him  swallow  the 
morsel. 

When  roosters  fight,  they  confront  each 
other  with  their  heads  lowered  and  then 
try  to  seize  each  other  by  the  back  of  the 
neck  with  their  beaks,  or  strike  each  other 
with  the  wing  spurs,  or  tear  with  the  leg 
spurs.  Weasels,  skunks,  rats,  hawks,  and 
crows  are  the  most  common  enemies  of 
the  fowls,  and  often  a  rooster  will  attack 
one  of  these  invaders  and  fight  valiantly; 
the  hen  also  will  fight  if  her  brood  is  dis- 
turbed. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Farm  Animals, 
by  James  G.  Lawson;  Nature  and  Science 
Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison 
E.  Howe,  Book  3,  Surprises;  The  Pet 
Book,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock. 

LESSON  8 
CHICKEN  WAYS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Chickens  have 
interesting  habits  of  life  and  extensive 
conversational  powers. 

METHOD  —  For  this  lesson  it  is  neces- 
sary that  the  pupils  observe  the  inhabit- 
ants of  the  poultry  yard  and  answer  these 
questions  a  few  at  a  time. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Did  the  chick  get 
out  of  the  egg  by  its  own  efforts?  Of  what 
use  is  the  little  tooth  which  is  on  the  tip 


49 


of  the  upper  part  of  a  young  chick's  beak? 
Does  this  remain? 

2.  What  is  the  difference  between  the 
down  of  the  chick  and  the  feathers  of 
the  hen?  The  little  chick  has  wings;  why 
can  it  not  fly? 

3.  Why  is  the  chick  just  hatched  so 
pretty  and  downy,  while  the  young  robin 
is  so  bare  and  ugly?  Why  is  the  young 
chick  able  to  see  while  the  young 'robin 
is  blind? 

4.  How  does  the  young  chick  get  its 
food? 

5.  Does  the  chick  chew  its  food  be- 
fore swallowing?  If  not,  why? 

6.  How  does  the  chick  drink?  Why 
does  it  drink  this  way? 

7.  Where  does  the  chick  sleep  at  night? 
Where  will  it  sleep  when  it  is  grown  up? 

8.  Where  does  the  hen  usually  put  her 
head  when  she  is  sleeping? 

9.  How  does  the  hen  call  her  chicks 
when  she  is  with  them  in  the  field? 

10.  How  does  she  call  them  to  food? 

11.  How  does  she  tell  them  there  is  a 
hawk  in  sight? 

12.  What  notes  does  the  chick  make 
when  it  is  following  its  mother?  When  it 
gets  lost?  When  it  cuddles  under  her 
wing? 

13.  What  does  the  hen  say  when  she 
has  laid  an  egg?  When  she  is  frightened? 


Parts  of  the  bird  labeled 

This  figure  may  be  placed  on  the  blackboard  wher/j 
pupils  may  consult  it  when  studying  colors  and  mark- 
ings of  birds. 


5° 


ANIMALS 


When  she  is  disturbed  while  sitting  on 
eggs?  When  she  is  grasped  by  an  enemy? 
How  do  hens  talk  together?  Describe  a 
hen's  song. 

14.  When    does    the    rooster    crow? 
What  other  sounds  does  he  make? 


15.  With    what    weapons    does    the 
rooster  fight  his  rivals  and  his  enemies? 

16.  What  are  the  natural  enemies  of 
the  barnyard  fowls  and  how  do  they  es- 
cape them? 


Pigeon  houses  of  the  upper  Nile 


J.  H.  Comstock 


PIGEONS 


There  is  mention  of  domesticated 
pigeons  by  writers  three  thousand  years 
ago;  and  Pliny  relates  that  the  Romans 
were  fervent  pigeon  fanciers  at  the  be- 
ginning of  the  Christian  era.  All  of  our 
domestic  varieties  of  pigeons  have  been 
developed  from  the  Rock  pigeon,  a  wild 
species  common  in  Europe  and  Asia.  The 
carrier  pigeon  was  probably  the  first  to 
be  specially  developed  because  of  its  use- 
fulness; its  love  and  devotion  to  its  mate 
and  young  and  its  homesickness  when 
separated  from  them  were  used  by  man 
for  his  own  interests.  When  a  knight  of 
old  started  off  on  a  Crusade  or  to  other 
wars,  he  took  with  him  several  pigeons 
from  the  home  cote;  and  after  riding 
many  days  he  wrote  a  letter  and  tied  it 
to  the  neck  or  under  the  wing  of  one  of 


his  birds,  which  he  then  set  free,  and  it 
flew  home  with  its  message;  later  he  would 
set  free  another  in  like  manner.  The  draw- 
back to  this  correspondence  was  that  it 
went  only  in  one  direction;  no  bird  from 
home  brought  message  of  cheer  to  the 
wandering  knight.  Nowadays  mail  routes, 
telegraph  wires,  and  wireless  currents  en- 
mesh our  globe,  and  the  pigeon  as  a  car- 
rier is  out-of-date;  but  fanciers  still  perfect 
the  homer  breed  and  train  pigeons  for 
very  difficult  flight  competitions,  some 
of  them  over  distances  of  hundreds  of 
miles.  Recently  a  homer  made  one  thou- 
sand miles  in  two  days,  five  hours,  and 
fifty  minutes. 

The  natural  food  of  pigeons  is  grain; 
we  feed  them  cracked  corn,  wheat,  peas, 
Kafir  corn,  millet,  and  occasionally  hemp 


BIRDS 


Homing  pigeons 


Verne  Morton 


seed;  it  is  best  to  feed  mixed  rations  as 
the  birds  tire  of  a  monotonous  diet.  Pi- 
geons should  be  fed  twice  a  day;  the  pi- 
geons and  their  near  relatives,  the  doves7 
are  the  only  birds  which  can  drink  like 
a  horse,  that  is,  with  the  head  lowered. 
The  walk  of  a  pigeon  is  accompanied  by  a 
peculiar  nodding  as  if  the  head  were  in 
some  way  attached  to  the  feet,  and  this 
movement  sends  waves  of  iridescent 
colors  over  the  bird's  plumage.  The  flight 
of  the  pigeon  is  direct  without  soaring, 
the  wings  move  rapidly  and  steadily,  the 
birds  circling  and  sailing  as  they  start  or 
alight.  The  crow  flaps  hard  and  then 
sails  for  a  distance  when  it  is  inspecting 
the  ground,  while  the  hawk  soars  on  mo- 
tionless wings.  It  requires  closer  attention 
to  understand  the  language  of  the  pigeon 
than  that  of  the  hen,  nor  has  it  so  wide 
a  range  of  expression  as  the  latter;  how- 
ever, some  emotions  which  the  children 
will  understand  are  voiced  in  the  cooing. 
The  nest  is  built  of  grass  and  twigs;  the 
mother  pigeon  lays  two  eggs  for  a  sitting; 
but  in  some  breeds  a  pair  will  raise  from 
seven  to  twelve  broods  per  year.  The  eggs 
hatch  in  from  sixteen  to  eighteen  days, 
and  both  parents  share  the  labors  of  in- 
cubating. In  the  case  of  the  homer  the 
father  bird  sits  from  about  10  A.M.  to 
4  P.M.  and  the  mother  the  remainder  of 
the  day  and  night.  The  devotion  of  pi- 


geons to  their  mates  and  to  their  young 
is  great,  and  has  been  sung  by  the  poets 
and  praised  by  the  philosophers  during 
many  ages;  some  breeds  mate  for  life.  The 
young  pigeons  or  squabs  are  fed  in  a  pe- 
culiar manner;  in  the  crops  of  both  par- 
ents is  secreted  a  cheesy  substance,  known 
as  pigeon  milk.  The  parent  seizes  the  beak 
of  the  squab  in  its  own  and  pumps  food 
from  its  own  crop  into  the  stomach  of 
the  young.  This  nutritious  food  is  given 
to  the  squab  for  about  five  days  and  then 
replaced  by  grain  which  has  been  softened 
in  the  parents'  stomachs,  until  the  squabs 
are  old  enough  to  feed  themselves.  Rats, 
mice,  weasels,  and  hawks  are  the  chief 
enemies  of  the  pigeons;  since  pigeons 
cannot  fight,  their  only  safety  lies  in 
flight. 

As  the  original  Rock  pigeon  built  in 
caves,  our  domesticated  varieties  naturally 
build  in  the  houses  we  provide  for  them. 
A  pigeon  house  should  not  be  built  for 
more  than  fifty  pairs;  it  should  be  well 
ventilated  and  kept  clean;  it  should  face 
the  south  or  east  and  be  near  a  shallow, 
running  stream  if  possible.  The  nest  boxes 
should  be  about  twelve  inches  square  and 
nine  inches  in  height  with  a  door  at  one 
side,  so  that  the  nest  may  remain  hidden. 
In  front  of  each  door  there  should  be  a 
little  shelf  to  act  as  a  balcony  on  which 
the  resting  parent  bird  may  sit  and  coo 
to  relieve  the  monotony  of  the  sitter's  task. 
Some  breeders  make  a  double  compart- 


J.  Deraary 


Pouter  pigeons 


ANIMALS 


ment  instead  of  providing  a  balcony, 
while  in  Egypt  branches  are  inserted  in 
the  wall  just  below  the  doors  of  the  very 
ornamental  pigeon  houses.  The  houses 
should  be  kept  clean  and  whitewashed 
with  lime  to  which  carbolic  acid  is  added 
in  the  proportion  of  one  teaspoonful  of 
acid  to  two  gallons  of  the  wash;  the  leaf 
stems  of  tobacco  may  be  given  to  the 
pigeons  as  material  for  building  their 
nests,  so  as  to  help  keep  in  check  the 


LESSON  9 
PIGEONS 


Hugh  Spencer 


Domestic  pigeon 


bird  lice.  There  should  be  near  the  pigeon 
house  plenty  of  fresh  water  for  drinking 
and  bathing;  also  a  box  of  table  salt,  and 
another  of  cracked  oyster  shell  and  one 
of  charcoal  as  fine  as  ground  coffee.  Salt 
is  very  essential  to  the  health  of  pigeons. 
The  house  should  be  high  enough  from 
the  ground  to  keep  the  inmates  safe  from 
rats  and  weasels. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Animal  Heroes, 
by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton  (Story  of 
Arnaux);  Audubon  Bird  Leaflets  2,  6, 
101;  Cher  Ami,  the  Story  of  a  Carrier 
Pigeon,  by  Marion  B.  Cothren;  Farm 
Animals,  by  James  G.  .Lawson;  Homing 
Pigeons:  Their  Care  and  Training  (U.S. 
Department  of  Agriculture,  Farmers7  Bul- 
letin 1373);  Mother  Nature  Series,  by 
Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell, 
Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  The  Pet 
BooJk,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  read- 
ings on  pages  28-29. 


LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  pigeons  dif- 
fer from  other  birds  in  appearance  and 
also  in  their  actions.  Their  nesting  habits 
are  very  interesting  and  there  are  many 
things  that  may  be  done  to  make  the 
pigeons  comfortable.  They  were,  in  an- 
cient days,  used  as  letter  carriers. 

METHOD  —  If  there  are  pigeons  kept 
in  the  neighborhood,  it  is  best  to  encour- 
age the  pupils  to  observe  these  birds  out- 
of-doors.  Begin  the  work  with  an  interest- 
ing story  and  with  a  few  questions  which 
will  arouse  the  pupils'  interest  in  the 
birds. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  For  an  out-of-door 
exercise  during  recess  let  the  pupils  ob- 
serve the  pigeon  and  tell  the  colors  of  the 
beak,  eyes,  top  of  the  head,  back,  breast, 
wings,  tail,  feet,  and  claws.  This  exercise 
is  excellent  training  to  fit  the  pupils  to 
note  quickly  the  colors  of  wild  birds. 

2.  On  what  do  pigeons  feed?  Are  they 
fond  of  salt? 

3.  Describe  how  a  pigeon  drinks.  How 
does  it  differ  in  this  respect  from  other 
birds? 

4.  Describe  the  peculiar  movement  of 
the  pigeon  when  walking. 

5.  Describe   the  pigeon's  flight.   Is  it 
rapid,  high  in  the  air,  do  the  wings  flap 
constantly,  etc.?  What  is  the  chief  differ- 
ence between  the  flight  of  pigeons  and 
that  of  crows  or  hawks? 

6.  Listen  to  the  cooing  of  a  pigeon  and 
see  if  you  can  understand  the  different 
notes. 

7.  Describe   the  pigeon's   nest.   How 
many  eggs  are  laid  at  a  time? 

8.  Describe  how  the  parents  share  the 
labors  in  hatching  the  eggs.  How  long  is 
it  after  the  eggs  are  laid  before  the  young 
hatch? 

9.  How  do  the  parents  feed  their  young 
and  on  what  material? 

10.  What  are  some  enemies  of  pigeons 
and  how  do  they  escape  from  them?  How 
can  we  protect  the  pigeons? 

11.  Describe    how    a    pigeon    house 
should  be  built. 


BIRDS 


12.  What  must  you  do  for  pigeons  to      bers,  that  I  cannot  refrain  from  quoting 


keep  them  healthy  and  comfortable? 

13.  How  many  breeds  of  pigeons  do 
you  know?  Describe  them. 

For  my  own  part  I  readily  concur  with 
you  in  supposing  that  housedoves  are  de- 
rived from  the  small  blue  rock-pigeon, 
Columba  livia,  for  many  reasons. 
But  what  is  worth  a  hundred  arguments 
is  the  instance  you  give  in  Sir  Roger 
Mostyns  housedoves  in  Caernarvonshire; 
which,  though  tempted  by  plenty  of  food 
and  gentle  treatment,  can  never  be  pre- 
vailed on  to  inhabit  their  cote  for  any 
time;  but  as  soon  as  they  begin  to  breed, 
betake  themselves  to  the  fastnesses  of 
Ormshead,  and  deposit  their  young  in 
safety  amidst  the  inaccessible  caverns  and 
precipices  of  that  stupendous  promon- 
tory. "  You  may  drive  nature  out  with  a 
pitchfork,  but  she  will  always  return  ": 
"Naturam  expellas  furca  .  .  .  tamen  us- 
que recurret." 

Virgil,  as  a  familiar  occurrence,  by  way 
of  simile,  describes  a  dove  haunting  the 
cavern  of  a  rock  in  such  engaging  num- 


the  passage. 

Qualis    spelunca    subito    commota    Co- 
lumba, 

Cui  domus,  et  dulces  latebroso  in  pumice 
nidi, 

Fertur  in  arva  volans,  plausumque  exter- 
rita  pennis 

Dat    tecto    ingentem,    mox    aere    lapsa 
quieto, 

Radit  iter  liquidum,  celeres  neque  com- 
movet  alas. 

(Virg.  Aen.  v.  213—217) 

As  when  a  dove  her  rocky  hold  forsakes, 
Roused,  in  a  fright  her  sounding  wings 

she  shakes; 
The  cavern  rings  with  clattering:  —  out 

she  flies, 
And  leaves  her  callow  care,  and  cleaves 

the  skies; 
At  first  she  flutters:  —  but  at  length  she 

springs 
To  smoother  flight,  and  shoots  upon  her 

wings. 

(Dryden's  Translation) 
—  WHITE  OF  SELBOURNE 


THE  CANARY  AND  THE  GOLDFINCH 


In  childhood  the  language  of  birds  and 
animals  is  learned  unconsciously.  What 
child,  who  cares  for  a  canary,  does  not 
understand  its  notes  which  mean  loneli- 
ness, hunger,  eagerness,  joy,  scolding, 
fright,  love,  and  song! 

The  pair  of  canaries  found  in  most 
cages  are  not  natural  mates.  The  union  is 
one  de  convenance,  forced  upon  them  by 
people  who  know  little  of  bird  affinities. 
We  could  hardly  expect  that  such  a  mat- 
ing would  be  always  happy.  The  singer, 
as  the  male  is  called,  is  usually  arbitrary 
and  tyrannical  and  does  not  hesitate  to 
lay  chastising  beak  upon  his  spouse.  The 
expression  of  affection  of  the  two  is  usu- 
ally very  practical,  consisting  of  feeding 
each  other  with  many  beguiling  notes 
and  much  fluttering  of  wings.  The  singer 
may  have  several  songs;  whether  he  has 


many  or  few  depends  chiefly  upon  his 
education;  he  usually  shows  exultation 
when  singing  by  throwing  the  head  back 
like  a  prima  donna,  to  let  the  music  well 


K.  '      '  11 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  goldfinch  on  her  nest  in  a  hawthorn 


54 


ANIMALS 


forth.  He  is  usually  brighter  yellow  in 
color  with  more  brilliantly  black  markings 
than  his  mate;  she  usually  has  much  gray 
in  her  plumage.  But  there  are  about  fifty 
varieties  of  canaries  and  each  has  distinct 
color  and  markings. 

Canaries  should  be  given  a  more  varied 
diet  than  most  people  think.  The  seeds 
we  buy  or  that  we  gather  from  the  plan- 
tain or  wild  -grasses,  they  eat  eagerly. 
They  like  fresh,  green  leaves  of  lettuce  and 
chickweed  and  other  tender  herbage; 
they  enjoy  bread  and  milk  occasionally. 
There  should  always  be  a  piece  of  cuttle- 
fish bone  or  sand  and  gravel  where  they 
can  get  it,  as  they  need  grit  for  digestion. 
Above  all,  they  should  have  fresh  water. 
Hard-boiled  egg  is  given  them  while  nest- 
ing. The  canary  seed  which  we  buy  for 
them  is  the  product  of  a  grass  in  the 
Canary  Islands.  Hemp  and  rape  seed  are 
also  sold  for  canary  food. 

The  canary's  beak  is  wide  and  sharp 
and  fitted  for  shelling  seeds;  it  is  not  a 
beak  fitted  for  capturing  insects.  The 
canary,  when  drinking,  does  not  have  to 
lift  the  beak  so  high  in  the  air  in  order 
to  swallow  the  water  as  do  some  birds. 
The  nostrils  are  in  the  beak  and  are  easily 
seen;  the  ear  is  hidden  by  the  feathers. 
The  canary  is  a  fascinating  little  creature 
when  it  shows  interest  in  an  object;  it 
has  such  a  knowing  look,  and  its  per- 
fectly round,  black  eyes  are  so  intelligent 
and  cunning.  If  the  canary  winks,  the 
act  is  so  rapid  as  to  be  seen  with  difficulty, 
but  when  it  is  drowsy,  the  little  inner  lid 
appears  at  the  inner  corner  of  its  eye  and 
the  outer  lids  close  so  that  we  may  be 
sure  that  they  are  there;  the  lower  lid 
covers  more  of  the  eye  than  the  upper. 

The  legs  and  toes  are  covered  with 
scale  armor;  the  toes  have  long,  curved 
claws  that  are  neither  strong  nor  sharp 
but  are  especially  fitted  for  holding  to 
the  perch;  the  long  hind  toe  with  its 
stronger  claw  makes  complete  the  grasp 
on  the  twig.  When  the  canary  is  hopping 
about  on  the  bottom  of  the  cage  we  can 
see  that  its  toes  are  more  fitted  for  hold- 
ing to  the  perch  than  for  walking  or  hop- 
ping on  the  ground. 


When  the  canary  bathes,  it  ducks  its 
head  and  makes  a  great  splashing  with  its 
wings  and  likes  to  get  thoroughly  wet. 
Afterward,  it  sits  all  bedraggled  and 
"  humped  up  "  for  a  time  and  then  usu- 
ally preens  its  feathers  as  they  dry.  When 
going  to  sleep,  it  at  first  fluffs  out  its 
feathers  and  squats  on  the  perch,  draws 
back  its  head,  and  looks  very  drowsy. 
Later  it  tucks  its  head  under  its  wing  for 
the  night  and  looks  like  a  little  ball  of 
feathers  on  the  perch. 

Canaries  make  a  great  fuss  when  build- 
ing their  nest.  A  pasteboard  box  is  usually 
given  them  with  cotton  and  string  for 
lining;  usually  one  pulls  out  what  the 
other  puts  in;  and  they  both  industriously 
tear  the  paper  from  the  bottom  of  the 
cage  to  add  to  their  building  material. 
Finally,  a  makeshift  of  a  nest  is  com- 
pleted and  the  eggs  are  laid.  If  the  singer 
is  a  good  husband,  he  helps  incubate  the 
eggs  and  feeds  his  mate  and  sings  to  her 
frequently;  but  often  he  is  quite  the  re- 
verse and  abuses  her  abominably.  The 
nest  of  the  caged  bird  is  very  different 
in  appearance  from  the  neat  nests  of  grass, 
plant  down,  and  moss  which  the  wild  an- 
cestors of  these  birds  made  in  some  safe 
retreat  in  the  shrubs  or  evergreens  of  the 
Canary  Islands.  The  canary  eggs  are  pale 
blue,  marked  with  reddish-brown.  The 
incubation  period  is  13  to  14  days.  The 
young  are  as  scrawny  and  ugly  as  most 
little  birds  and  are  fed  upon  food  par- 
tially digested  in  the  parents'  stomachs. 
Their  first  plumage  usually  resembles 
that  of  the  mother. 

In  their  wild  state  in  the  Canary  Islands 
and  the  Azores,  the  canaries  are  olive 
green  above  with  golden  yellow  breasts. 
When  the  heat  of  spring  begins,  they 
move  up  the  mountains  to  cooler  levels 
and  come  down  again  in  the  winter.  They 
may  rear  three  or  four  broods  on  their 
way  up  the  mountains,  stopping  at  suc- 
cessive heights  as  the  season  advances, 
until  finally  they  reach  the  high  peaks. 

THE  GOLDFINCH  OR  THISTLE  BIRD 

The  goldfinches  are  small  birds  but 
their  songs  are  so  sweet  and  reedy  that 


BIRDS 


they  seem  to  fill  the  world  with  music 
more  effectually  than  many  larger  birds. 
They  are  fond  of  the  seeds  of  wild  grass, 
and  especially  of  thistle  seed;  and  they 
throng  the  pastures  and  fence  comers 
where  the  thistles  hold  sway.  In  summer, 
the  male  has  bright  yellow  plumage  with 
a  little  black  cap  "  pulled  down  over  his 
nose  "  like  that  of  a  grenadier.  He  has  also 
a  black  tail  and  wings  with  white-tipped 
coverts  and  primaries.  The  tail  feathers 
have  white  on  their  inner  webs  also,  which 
does  not  show  when  the  tail  is  closed. 
The  head  and  back  of  the  female  are 
brown  and  the  under  parts  yellowish 
white,  with  wings  and  tail  resembling 
those  of  the  male  except  that  they  are  not 
so  vividly  black.  In  winter  the  male  dons 
a  dress  more  like  that  of  his  mate;  he  loses 
his  black  cap  but  keeps  his  black  wings 
and  tail. 

The  song  of  the  goldfinch  is  exquisite 
and  he  sings  during  the  entire  period  of 
his  golden  dress;  he  sings  while  flying  as 
well  as  when  at  rest.  The  flight  is  in  itself 
beautiful,  being  wavelike  up  and  down, 
in  graceful  curves.  Mr.  Chapman  says 
that  on  the  descending  half  of  the  curve 
the  male  sings  "  Per-chick  or-ree."  The 


Audubon  Educational  Leaflet  No.  17 

A  pair  of  goldfinches 


A.  A.  Allen 

The  nest  and  eggs  of  a  goldfinch  in  an  elm  tree 

goldfinch's  call  notes  and  alarm  notes  are 
very  much  like  those  of  the  canary. 

Since  the  goldfinches  live  so  largely 
upon  seeds  of  grasses,  they  stay  with  us  in 
small  numbers  during  the  winter.  During 
this  period  both  parents  and  young  are 
dressed  in  olive  green,  and  their  sweet  call 
notes  are  a  surprise  to  us  of  a  cold,  snowy 
morning,  for  they  are  associated  in  our 
memory  with  summer.  The  male  dons  his 
winter  suit  in  October. 

The  goldfinch  nest  is  a  mass  of  fluffi- 
ness.  These  birds  make  feather  beds  for 
their  young,  or  perhaps  we  should  say 
beds  of  down,  since  it  is  the  thistledown 
which  is  used  for  this  mattress.  The  out- 
side of  the  nest  consists  of  fine  shreds 
of  bark  or  fine  grass  closely  woven;  but 
the  inner  portion  is  a  mat  of  thistledown 
—  a  cushion  an  inch  and  a  half  thick  for 
a  nest  which  has  an  opening  of  scarcely 
three  inches;  sometimes  the  outside  is 
ornamented  with  lichens.  The  nest  is  usu- 
ally placed  in  some  bush  or  tree,  often  in 
an  evergreen,  and  ordinarily  not  more 
than  five  or  six  feet  from  the  ground;  but 
sometimes  it  is  placed  thirty  feet  high. 
The  eggs  are  from  four  to  six  in  number 
and  bluish  white  in  color.  The  female 
builds  the  nest,  her  mate  cheering  her  with 
song  meanwhile;  he  feeds  her  while  she  is 
incubating  and  helps  feed  the  young.  A 
strange  thing  about  the  nesting  habits 
of  the  goldfinches  is  that  the  nest  is  not 
built  until  August.  It  has  been  surmised 
that  this  nesting  season  is  delayed  until 


56  ANIMALS 

there  is  an  abundance  of  thistledown  for 
building  material. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  17;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs, 
by  John  Burroughs;  Canaries:  Their  Care 
and  Management  by  Alexander  Wet- 
more  (U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture, 
Farmers7  Bulletin  1327);  The  Pet  Book, 
by  Anna  B.  Comstock  (Canary);  also, 
readings  on  pages  28-29. 


LESSON  10 
THE  CANARY  AND  THE  GOLDFINCH 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  canary  is  a 
close  relative  of  the  common  wild  gold- 
finch. If  we  compare  the  habits  of  the  two 
we  can  understand  how  a  canary  might 
live  if  it  were  free. 

METHOD  —  Bring  a  canary  to  the 
schoolroom  and  ask  for  observations. 
Ask  the  pupils  to  compare  the  canary 
with  the  goldfinches  which  are  common 
in  the  summer.  The  canary  offers  oppor- 
tunity for  very  close  observation,  which 
will  prove  excellent  training  for  the  pupils 
for  beginning  bird  study. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  If  there  are  two 
canaries  in  the  cage,  are  they  always  pleas- 
ant to  each  other?  Which  one  is  the 
"  boss "?  How  do  they  show  displeasure 
or  bad  temper?  How  do  they  show  affec- 
tion for  each  other? 

2.  Which  one  is  the  singer?  Does  the 
other  one  ever  attempt  to  sing?  What 
other  notes  do  the  canaries  make  besides 
singing?  How  do  they  greet  you  when 
you  bring  their  food?  What  do  they  say 
when  they  are  lonesome  and  hungry? 

3.  Does  the  singer  have  more  than  one 
song?  How  does  he  act  while  singing? 
Why  does  he  throw  back  his  head  like 
an  opera  singer  when  singing? 

4.  Are  the  canaries  all  the  same  color? 
What  is  the  difference  in  color  between 
the  singer  and  the  mother  bird?  Describe 
the  colors  of  each  in  your  notebook  as 
follows:  top  and  sides  of  head,  back,  tail, 
wings,  throat,  breast,  and  under  parts. 

5.  What  does  the  canary  eat?  What 
sort  of  seeds  do  we  buy  for  it?  What  seeds 


do  we  gather  for  it  in  our  garden?  Do  the 
goldfinches  live  on  the  same  seeds?  What 
does  the  canary  do  to  the  seeds  before 
eating  them?  What  tools  does  he  use  to 
take  off  the  shells? 

6.  Notice  the   shape   of  the  canary's 
beak.  Is  it  long  and  strong  like  a  robin's? 
Is  it  wide  and  sharp  so  that  it  can  shell 
seeds?  If  you  should  put  an  insect  in  the 
cage  would  the  canary  eat  it? 

7.  Why  do  we  give  the  canary  cuttle- 
bone?  Note  how  it  takes  off  pieces  of  the 
bone.  Could  it  do  this  if  its  beak  were  not 
sharp? 

8.  Note  the  actions  of  the  birds  when 
they  drink.  Why  do  they  do  this? 

9.  Can  you  see  the  nostrils?  Where  are 
they  situated?  Why  can  you  not  see  the 
ear? 

10.  When  the  canary  is  interested  in 
looking  at  a  thing  how  does  it  act?  Look 
closely  at  its  eyes.  Does  it  wink?  How 
does  it  close  its  eyes?  When  it  is  drowsy 
can  you  see  the  little  inner  lid  come  from 
the  corner  of  the  eye  nearest  the  beak? 
Is  this  the  only  licl? 

11.  How  are  the  legs  and  feet  covered? 
Describe  the  toes.  Compare  the  length  of 
the  claw  with  the  length  of  the  toe.  What 
is  the  shape  of  the  claw?  Do  you  think 
that  claws  and  feet  of  this  shape  are  better 
fitted  for  holding  to  a  branch  than  for 
walking?  Note  the  arrangement  of  the 
toes  when  the  bird  is  on  its  perch.  Is  the 
hind  toe  longer  and  stronger?  If  so,  why? 
Do  the  canaries  hop  or  walk  about  the 
bottom  of  the  cage? 

12.  What  is  the  attitude  of  the  canary 
when  it  goes  to  sleep  at  night?  How  does 
it  act  when  it  takes  a  bath?  How  does  it 
get  the  water  over  its  head?  Over  its  back? 
What  does  it  do  after  the  bath?  If  we 
forget  to  put  in  the  bath  dish  how  does 
the  bird  get  its  bath? 

NESTING  HABITS  TO  BE  OBSERVED 
IN  THE  SPRING 

13.  When  the  canaries  are  ready  to 
build  a  nest,  what  material  do  we  furnish 
them  for  it?  Does  the  father  bird  help 
the  mother  to  build  the  nest?  Do  they 
strip  off  the  paper  on  the  bottom  of  the 


BIRDS 


cage  for  nest  material?  Describe  the  nest 
when  it  is  finished. 

14.  Describe  the  eggs  carefully.  Does 
the  father  bird  assist  in  sitting  on  the 
eggs?  Does  he  feed  the  mother  bird  when 
she  is  sitting? 

15.  How  long  after  the  eggs  are  laid 
before  the  young  ones  hatch?  Do  both 
parents  feed  the  young?  Do  they  swallow 
the  food  first  and  partially  digest  it  before 
giving  it  to  the  young? 

16.  How  do  the  very  young  birds  look? 
What   is   their  appearance   when   they 
leave  the  nest?  Does  the  color  of  their 
plumage  resemble  that  of  the  father  or 
the  mother? 

17.  Where  did  the  canaries  originally 
come  from?  Find  the  place  on  the  map. 

THE  GOLDFINCH 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Goldfinches  are 
seen  at  their  best  in  late  summer  or 
September,  when  they  appear  in  flocks 
wherever  the  thistle  seeds  are  found  in 
abundance.  Goldfinches  so  resemble  the 
canaries  in  form,  color,  song,  and  habits 
that  they  are  called  wild  canaries. 

METHOD  — The  questions  for  this  les- 
son may  be  given  to  the  pupils  before  the 
end  of  school  in  June.  The  results  may  be 
reported  to  the  teacher  in  class  when  the 
school  begins  in  the  autumn. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Where  do  you  find 
the  goldfinches  feeding?  How  can  you 
distinguish  the  father  from  the  mother 
birds  and  from  the  young  ones  in  color? 


2.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  male  gold- 
finch and  also  of  the  female  as  follows: 
crown,  back  of  head,  back,  tail,  wings, 
throat,  breast,  and  lower  parts.  Describe  in 
particular  the  black  cap  of  the  male. 

3.  Do  you  know  the  song  of  the  gold- 
finch? Is  it  like  the  song  of  the  canary? 
What  other  notes  has  the  goldfinch? 

4.  Describe  the  peculiar  flight  of  the 
goldfinches.   Do   they   fly   high   in    the 
air?  Do  you  usually  see  them  singly  or  in 
flocks? 

5.  Where  do  the  goldfinches  stay  dur- 
ing the  winter?  What  change  takes  place 
in  the  coat  of  the  male  during  the  winter? 
What  do  they  eat  during  the  winter? 

6.  At  what  time  of  year  do  the  gold- 
finches build  their  nests?  Describe  the 
nest.  Where  is  it  placed?  How  far  above 
the  ground?  How  far  from  a  stream  or 
other  water?  Of  what  is  the  outside  made? 
The  lining?  What  is  the  general  appear- 
ance of  the  nest?  What  is  the  color  of  the 
eggs? 

Sometimes  goldfinches  one  by  one  will 

drop 
From    low-hung    branches;   little   space 

they  stop, 
But  sip,  and  twitter,  and  their  feathers 

sleek, 

Then  off  at  once,  as  in  a  wanton  frealc; 
Or  perhaps,   to  show   their  black   and 

golden  wings; 

Pausing  upon  their  yellow  flutterings, 

KEATS 


THE  ROBIN 


Most  of  us  think  we  know  the  robin 
well,  but  very  few  of  us  know  definitely 
the  habits  of  this,  our  commonest  bird. 
The  object  of  this  lesson  is  to  form  in  the 
pupils  a  habit  of  careful  observation,  and 
to  enable  them  to  read  for  themselves  the 
interesting  story  of  this  little  life  which 
is  lived  every  year  before  their  eyes.  More- 
over, a  robin  notebook,  if  well  kept,  is  a 
treasure  for  any  child;  and  the  close  obser- 
vation necessary  for  this  lesson  trains  the 


pupils  to  note  in  a  comprehending  way 
the  habits  of  other  birds.  It  is  the  very 
best  preparation  for  bird  study  of  the  right 
sort. 

A  few  robins  occasionally  find  a  swamp 
where  they  can  obtain  food  to  nourish 
them  during  the  northern  winter,  but  for 
the  most  part  they  go  in  flocks  to  our 
southern  states,  where  they  settle  in 
swamps  and  cedar  forests  and  live  chiefly 
upon  fruits  and  berries.  The  robins  do  not 


ANIMALS 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  robin  and  its  hungry  young 

nest  or  sing  while  in  Southland.  When  the 
robins  first  come  to  us  in  the  spring  they 
feed  on  wild  berries,  being  especially  fond 
of  those  of  the  Virginia  creeper.  As  soon  as 
the  frost  is  out  of  the  ground  they  begin 
feeding  on  earthworms,  cutworms,  white 
grubs,  and  other  insects.  The  male  robins 
come  first,  but  do  not  sing  much  until 
their  mates  arrive. 

The  robin  is  ten  inches  long  and  the 
English  sparrow  is  only  six  and  one-third 
inches  long;  the  pupils  should  get  the  sizes 
of  these  two  birds  fixed  in  their  minds  for 
comparison  in  measuring  other  birds.  The 
father  robin  is  much  more  decided  in 
color  than  his  mate;  his  beak  is  yellow, 
there  is  a  yellow  ring  about  the  eye  and  a 
white  spot  above  it.  The  head  is  black  and 
the  back  slaty-brown;  the  breast  is  bril- 
liant reddish  brown  or  bay  and  the  throat 
is  white,  streaked  with  black.  The  mother 
bird  has  paler  back  and  breast  and  has  no 
black  upon  the  head.  The  wings  of  both 
are  a  little  darker  than  the  back;  the  tail 
is  black  with  the  two  outer  feathers  tipped 
with  white.  These  white  spots  do  not  show 
except  when  the  bird  is  flying  and  are 
"  call  colors  "  —  that  is,  they  enable  the 
birds  to  see  each  other  and  thus  keep  to- 
gether when  flying  in  flocks  during  the 


night.  The  white  patch  made  by  the  un- 
der tail-coverts  serves  a  similar  purpose. 
The  feet  and  legs  are  strong  and  dark  in 
color. 

The  robin  has  many  sweet  songs  and  he 
may  be  heard  in  the  earliest  dawn  and  also 
in  the  evenings;  if  he  wishes  to  cheer  his 
mate  he  may  burst  into  song  at  any  time. 
He  feels  especially  songful  before  the 
summer  showers,  when  he  seems  to  sing, 
"  I  have  a  theory,  a  theory,  it's  going 
to  rain/'  And  he  might  well  say  that 
he  also  has  a  theory,  based  on  experi- 
ence, that  a  soaking  shower  will  drive 
many  of  the  worms  and  larvae  in  the  soil 
up  to  the  surface  where  he  can  get  them. 
Besides  these  songs  the  robins  have  a  great 
variety  of  notes  which  the  female  shares, 
although  she  is  not  a  singer.  The  agoniz- 
ing, angry  cries  they  utter  when  they  see 
a  cat  or  squirrel  must  express  their  feelings 
fully;  they  give  a  very  different  warning 
note  when  they  see  crow  or  hawk.  This 
note  is  hard  to  describe;  it  is  a  long,  not 
very  loud  squeak. 

A  robin  can  run  or  hop  as  pleases  him 
best,  and  it  is  interesting  to  see  one,  while 
hunting  earthworms,  run  a  little  distance, 
then  stop  to  bend  the  head  and  listen 
and  look;  when  he  finally  seizes  the  earth- 
worm he  braces  himself  on  his  strong  legs 
and  tugs  manfully  until  he  sometimes  al- 


Herbert  E.  Gray 

Four  blue  eggs  in  a  nest  on  a  rail  fence 


BIRDS 


most  falls  over  backward  as  the  worm  lets 
go  its  hold.  The  robins,  especially  at  nest- 
ing time,  eat  many  insects  as  well  as  earth- 
worms. 

The  beginning  of  a  robin's  nest  is  very 
interesting;  much  strong  grass,  fine  straw, 
leaves,  and  rootlets  are  brought  and  placed 
on  a  secure  support.  When  enough  of  this 
material  is  collected  and  arranged,  the  bird 
goes  to  the  nearest  mud  puddle  or  stream 
margin  and  fills  its  beak  with  soft  mud; 
it  then  goes  back  and  "  peppers "  it  into 
the  nest  material;  after  the  latter  is  soaked, 
the  bird  gets  into  it  and  molds  it  to  the 
body  by  turning  around  and  around.  In 
one  case  which  the  author  watched  the 
mother  bird  did  this  part  of  the  building, 
although  the  father  worked  industriously 
in  bringing  the  other  materials.  After  the 
nest  is  molded  but  not  yet  hardened,  it  is 
lined  with  fine  grass  or  rootlets.  If  the 
season  is  very  dry  and  there  is  no  soft 
mud  at  hand,  the  robins  can  build  without 
the  aid  of  this  plaster.  Four  eggs,  which 
are  an  exquisite  greenish  blue  in  color,  are 
usually  laid. 

Both  parents  share  the  monotonous 
business  of  incubating,  and  in  the  instance 
under  the  eyes  of  the  author  the  mother 
bird  was  on  the  nest  at  night;  the  period 
of  incubating  is  from  eleven  to  fourteen 
days.  The  most  noticeable  thing  about 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  robin  on  its  nest 


A.  A.  Allen 

Young   robins.  Their  spotted  breasts  show 
their  relationship  to  the  thrushes 

a  very  young  robin  is  its  wide,  yellow-mar- 
gined mouth,  which  it  opens  like  a  satchel 
every  time  the  nest  is  jarred.  This  wide 
mouth  cannot  but  suggest  to  anyone  who 
sees  it  that  it  is  meant  to  be  stuffed,  and 
the  two  parents  work  very  hard  to  fill  it. 
Both  parents  feed  the  young  and  often  the 
father  feeds  the  mother  bird  while  she 
is  brooding.  Professor  Treadwell  experi- 
mented with  young  robins  and  found  that 
each  would  take  68  earthworms  daily; 
these  worms  if  laid  end  to  end  would 
measure  about  14  feet.  Think  of  14  feet 
of  earthworm  being  wound  into  the  little 
being  in  the  nest;  no  wonder  that  it  grows 
so  fast!  I  am  convinced  that  each  pair  of 
robins  about  our  house  has  its  own  special 
territory  for  hunting  worms,  and  that  any 
trespasser  is  quickly  driven  off.  The  young 
birds'  eyes  are  opened  when  they  are  from 
six  to  eight  days  old,  and  by  that  time  the 
feather  tracts,  that  is,  the  places  where 
the  feathers  are  to  grow,  are  covered  by 
the  spinelike  pin-feathers;  these  feathers 
push  the  down  out  and  it  often  clings  to 
their  tips.  In  eleven  days  the  birds  are 
pretty  well  feathered;  their  wing  feathers 
are  fairly  developed,  but  alas,  they  have 
no  tail  feathers!  When  a  young  robin  flies 
from  the  nest  he  is  a  very  uncertain  and 
tippy  youngster,  not  having  any  tail  to 
steer  him  while  flying,  or  to  balance  him 
when  alighting. 

It  is  an  anxious  time  for  the  old  robins 
when  the  young  ones  leave  the  nest,  and 


6o 


ANIMALS 


they  flutter  about  and  scold  at  anyone 
who  comes  in  sight,  so  afraid  are  they  that 
injury  will  come  to  their  inexperienced 
young  ones;  for  some  time  the  parents 
care  for  the  fledglings,  solicitously  feeding 
them  and  giving  them  warnings  of  danger. 
The  young  robin  shows  in  its  plumage  its 
relation  to  the  thrush  family,  for  it  is 
yellowish  and  very  spotted  and  speckled, 
especially  on  the  breast.  The  parents  may 
raise  several  broods,  but  they  rarely  use  the 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

This  robin  became  so  entangled  in  ma- 
terial it  had  gathered  for  its  nest  tha{t  it  was 
unable  to  fly 

same  nest  for  two  consecutive  broods, 
both  because  it  may  be  infested  with  para- 
sites and  because  it  is  more  or  less  soiled, 
although  the  mother  robin  works  hard  to 
keep  it  clean;  she  carries  away  all  waste 
matter  in  her  beak  and  drops  it  at  some 
distance  from  the  nest.  Robins  do  not  sing 
much  after  the  breeding  season  is  over 
until  after  they  have  molted.  They  are 
fond  of  cherries  and  other  pulp  fruits  and 
often  do  much  damage  to  such  crops.  The 
wise  orchardist  will  plant  a  few  Russian 
mulberry  trees  at  a  reasonable  distance 
from  his  cherry  trees,  and  thus,  by  giving 
the  robins  a  fruit  which  they  like  better, 
and  which  ripens  a  little  earlier,  he  may 
save  his  cherries.  It  has  been  proved  con- 
clusively that  the  robins  are  far  more  bene- 
ficial than  damaging  to  the  farmer;  they 


destroy  many  noxious  insects,  two-thirds 
of  their  food  throughout  the  year  consist- 
ing of  insects;  during  April  and  May  they 
do  a  great  work  in  destroying  cutworms. 

The  robins  stay  in  the  North  later  than 
most  migrating  birds,  often  not  leaving 
us  entirely  before  November.  Occasional 
stragglers  may  remain  all  winter,  in  some 
protected  areas.  Their  chief  enemies  in 
northern  climates  are  cats,  crows,  and 
squirrels.  Cats  should  be  taught  to  let 
birds  alone  (see  lesson  on  cat)  or  should 
be  killed.  The  crows  have  driven  the 
robins  into  villages  where  they  can  build 
their  nests  under  the  protection  of  man. 
If  crows  venture  near  a  house  to  attack  the 
robins,  firing  a  gun  at  them  once  or  twice 
will  give  them  a  hint  which  they  are  not 
slow  to  take.  The  robins  of  an  entire 
neighborhood  will  attack  a  nest-robbing 
crow,  but  usually  too  late  to  save  the  nest- 
lings. The  robins  can  defend  themselves 
fairly  well  against  the  red  squirrel  unless 
he  steals  the  contents  of  the  nest  while 
the  owners  are  away.  There  can  be  no 
doubt  that  the  same  pair  of  robins  return 
to  the  same  nesting  place  year  after  year. 
On  the  Cornell  University  campus  a 
robin  lacking  the  white  tip  on  one  side 
of  his  tail  was  noted  to  have  returned  to 
the  same  particular  feeding  ground  for 
several  years;  and  we  are  very  certain  that 
the  same  female  bird  built  in  the  vines  of 
our  piazza  for  seven  consecutive  years;  it 
took  two  years  to  win  her  confidence,  but 
after  that  she  seemed  to  feel  as  if  she  were 
a  part  of  the  family  and  regarded  us  all 
as  friends.  We  were  sure  that  during  her 
fifth  year  she  brought  a  new  young  hus- 
band to  the  old  nesting  site;  probably 
her  faithful  old  husband  had  met  with 
some  mischance  during  the  winter. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  46;  Bird-House  to  Let,  by 
Mary  F.  Terrel;  Bird  Stories  from  Bur- 
roughs, by  John  Burroughs;  First  Lessons 
in  Nature  Study,  by  Edith  M.  Patch;  Na- 
ture and  Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch  and  Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  i. 
Hunting,  Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits,  Book  5, 
Science  at  Home;  Nature  Stories  for  CLII- 


BIRDS 


61 


dren,  Autumn,  by  Eva  L.  Gordon  and 
Jennie  Hall;  Science  Stories,  by  Wilbur  L. 
Beauchamp,  W.  S.  Gray  and  Co-authors, 
Book  i;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 


11 


LESSON 
THE  ROBIN 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  To  understand  all 
we  can  about  the  life  and  ways  of  the 
robin. 

METHOD  —  For  first  and  second  grades 
this  work  may  be  done  by  means  of  an 
extra  blackboard,  or  what  is  far  better, 
sheets  of  ordinary,  buff,  manila  wrapping 
paper  fastened  together  at  the  upper  end, 
so  that  they  may  be  hung  and  turned  over 
like  a  calendar.  On  the  outside  page  make 
a  picture  of  a  robin  in  colored  chalk  or 
crayons,  coloring  according  to  the  chil- 
dren's answers  to  questions  of  series  "  b." 
Devote  each  page  to  one  series  of  ques- 
tions, as  given  below.  Do  not  show  these 
questions  to  the  pupils  until  the  time  is 
ripe  for  the  observations.  Those  pupils 
giving  accurate  answers  to  these  questions 
should  have  their  names  on  a  roll  of  honor 
on  the  last  page  of  the  chart. 

For  third  or  higher  grades  the  pupils 
may  have  individual  notebooks  in  which 
each  one  may  write  his  own  answers  to 
the  questions  of  the  successive  series, 
which  should  be  written  on  the  black- 
board at  the  proper  time  for  the  observa- 
tions. This  notebook  should  have  a  page 
about  6x8  inches  and  may  be  made  of  any 
blank  paper.  The  cover  or  first  page  should 
show  the  picture  of  the  robin  colored  by 
the  pupil,  and  may  contain  other  illus- 
trative drawings,  and  any  poems  or  other 
literature  pertinent  to  the  subject. 

OBSERVATIONS  BY  PUPILS  —  Series  a 
(to  be  given  in  March  in  the  northern 
states). 

1.  At  what  date  did  you  see  the  first 
robin  this  year? 

2.  Where  did  the  robin  spend  the  win- 
ter? Did  it  build  a  nest  or  sing  when  in  its 
winter  quarters? 

3.  What  does  it  find  to  eat  when  it 
first  comes  in  the  spring?  How  does  this 
differ  from  its  ordinary  food? 


4.  Does  the  robin  begin  to  sing  as  soon 
as  it  comes  north? 

Series  b  (to  be  given  the  first  week  of 
April). 

1.  How  large  is  the  robin  compared 
with  the  English  sparrow? 

2.  What  is  the  color  of  the  beak?  The 
eye?  Around  and  above  the  eye? 

3.  The  color  of  the  top  of  the  head? 
The  back?  The  throat?  The  breast? 

4.  Do  all  the  robins  have  equally  bright 
colors  on  head,  back,  and  breast? 

5.  What   is   the   color   of   the   wing 
feathers? 

6.  What  is  the  color  of  the  tail  feath- 
ers? Where  is  the  white  on  them?  Can 
the  white  spots  be  seen  except  during 
flight  of  the  bird?  Of  what  use  to  the 
robin  are  these  spots? 

7.  Is  there  white  on  the  underside  of 
the  robin  as  it  flies  over  you?  Where? 

8.  What  is  the  color  of  the  feet  and 
legs? 

Series  c  (to  be  given  the  second  week 
of  April). 

1 .  At  what  time  of  day  does  the  robin 
sing?  Is  it  likely  to  sing  before  a  rain? 
How  many  different  songs  does  a  robin 
sing? 

2.  What  note  does  a  robin  give  when  it 
sees  a  cat? 

3.  What  sounds  do  the  robins  make 
when  they  see  a  crow  or  a  hawk? 

4.  Does  a  robin  run  or  walk  or  hop? 

5.  Do  you  think  it  finds  the  hidden 
earthworm  by  listening?  If  so,  describe  the 
act. 

6.  Describe  how  a  robin  acts  as  it  pulls 
a  big  earthworm  out  of  the  ground. 

7.  Do  robins  eat  other  food  than  earth- 
worms? 

Series  d  (to  be  given  in  the  middle  of 
April  or  a  little  later) . 

1.  At  what  date  did  your  pair  of  robins 
begin  to  build  their  nest? 

2.  Where  was  the  nest  placed  and  with 
what  material  was  it  begun? 

3.  Can  you  tell  the  difference  in  colors 
between  the  father  and  mother  birds?  Do 
both  parents  help  in  making  the  nest? 


62 


ANIMALS 


4.  How  and  with  what  material  is  the 
plastering  done?  How  is  the  nest  molded 
into  shape?  Do  both  birds  do  this  part  of 
the  work? 

5.  Where  is  the  mud  obtained  and  how 
carried  to  the  nest? 

6.  How  is  the  nest  lined? 

Series  e    (to  be  given  a  week  after 
series  d). 

1.  What  is  the  number  and  color  of 
the  eggs  in  the  nest? 

2.  Do   both    parents   do   the   sitting? 
Which  sits  on  the  nest  during  the  night? 

3.  Give  the  date  when  the  first  nestling 
hatches. 

4.  How  does  the  young  robin  look? 
The  color  and  size  of  its  beak?  Why  is  its 
beak  so  large?  Can  it  see?  Is  it  covered 
with  down?  Compare  it  to  a  young  chick 
and  describe  the  difference  between  the 
two. 

5.  What  does  the  young  robin  do  if  it 
feels  any  jar  against  the  nest?  Why  does 
it  do  this? 

6.  Do  the  young  robins  make  any  noise? 

7.  What    do    the  parents  feed   their 
young?  Do  both  parents  feed  them?  Are 
the  young  fed  in  turns? 

8.  Do  you  believe  each  pair  of  robins 
has  a  certain  territory  for  hunting  worms 
which  is  not  trespassed  upon  by  other 
robins? 

Series  f  (to  be  given  three  days  after 
series  e). 


1.  How  long  after  hatching  before  the 
young  robin's  eyes  are  open?  Can  you  see 
where  the  feathers  are  going  to  grow? 
How  do  the  young  feathers  look? 

2.  How  long  after  hatching  before  the 
young  birds  are  covered  with  feathers? 

3.  Do  their  wing  or  tail  feathers  come 
first? 

4.  How  is  the  nest  kept  clean? 

5.  Give  the  date  when  the  young  robins 
leave  the  nest.  How  do  the  old  robins  act 
at  this  important  crisis? 

6.  Describe  the  young  robin's  flight. 
Why  is  it  so  unsteady? 

7.  How  do  the  young  robins  differ  in 
colors  of  breast  from  the  parents? 

8.  Do  the  parents  stay  with  the  young 
for  a  time?  What  care  do  they  give  them? 

9.  If  the  parents  raise  a  second  brood, 
do  they  use  the  same  nest? 

Series  g  (to  be  given  for  summer  read- 
ing and  observations ) . 

1.  Do    the    robins   sing   all   summer? 
Why? 

2.  Do  the  robins  take  your  berries  and 
cherries?  How  can  you  prevent  them  from 
doing  this? 

3.  Flow  does  the  robin  help  us? 

4.  How  long  does  it  stay  with  us  in  the 
fall? 

5.  What  are  the  chief  enemies  of  the 
robin  and  how  does  it  fight  or  escape 
them?  How  can  we  help  protect  it? 

6.  Do  you  think  the  same  robins  come 
back  to  us  each  year? 


THE  BLUEBIRD 


Stern  as  were  our  Pilgrim  Fathers,  they 
could  not  fail  to  welcome  certain  birds 
with  plumage  the  color  of  June  skies, 
whose  sweet  voices  brought  hope  and 
cheer  to  their  homesick  hearts  at  the  close 
of  that  first,  long,  hard  winter  of  1621. 
The  red  breasts  of  these  birds  brought 
to  memory  the  robins  of  old  England,  and 
so  they  were  called  "  blue  robins ";  and 
this  name  expresses  well  the  relationship 
implied,  because  the  bluebirds  and  robins 
of  America  are  both  members  of  the 


thrush  family,  a  family  noted  for  exquisite 
song. 

The  bluebirds  are  usually  ahead  of  the 
robins  in  the  northward  journey  and  often 
arrive  in  New  York  arnid  the  blizzards  of 
early  March,  their  soft,  rich  "  curly  "  notes 
bringing,  even  to  the  doubting  mind,  glad 
convictions  of  coming  spring.  There  is  a 
family  resemblance  between  voices  of 
bluebird  and  robin,  a  certain  rich  quality 
of  tone;  but  the  robin's  song  is  far  more 
assertive  and  complex  than  is  the  soft, 


BIRDS 

"purling"  song  of  the  bluebird,  which 
has  been  vocalized  as  "  tru-al-ly,  tru-al-ly." 
These  love  songs  cease  with  the  hard  work 
of  feeding  the  nestlings,  but  may  be  heard 
again  as  a  prelude  to  the  second  brood  in 
June.  The  red  breast  of  the  bluebird  is  its 
only  color  resemblance  to  the  robin,  al- 
though the  young  bluebirds  and  robins  are 
both  spotted,  showing  the  thrush  colors. 
The  robin  is  so  much  larger  than  the  blue- 
bird that  commonly  the  relationship  is 
not  noticed.  This  is  easily  explained  be- 
cause there  is  nothing  to  suggest  a  robin 
in  the  exquisite  cerulean  blue  of  the  blue- 
bird's head,  back,  tail,  and  wings.  This 
color  is  most  brilliant  when  the  bird  is 
on  the  wing,  in  the  sunshine.  However, 
there  is  a  certain  mirror-like  quality  in 
these  blue  feathers;  and  among  leaf  shad- 
ows or  even  among  bare  branches  they 
in  a  measure  reflect  the  surroundings  and 
thus  render  the  bird  less  noticeable. 
The  female  is  paler,  being  grayish  blue 
above  and  with  only  a  tinge  of  red-brown 


This  bluebird  is  nesting  in  a  cavity  drilled  by 
a  woodpecker  the  previous  year 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  hollow  fence  post  is  a  common  home  of 
the  bluebird.  The  young  are  fed  chiefly  on 
insects 


on  the  breast;  both  birds  are  white 
beneath. 

The  bluebirds  haunt  open  woods,  fields 
of  second  growth,  and  especially  old  or- 
chards. They  flit  about  in  companies  of 
three  or  four  until  they  mate  for  nesting. 
While  feeding,  the  bluebird  usually  sits  on 
a  low  branch  keeping  a  keen  eye  on  the 
ground  below,  now  and  then  dropping 
suddenly  on  an  unsuspecting  insect  and 
then  returning  to  its  perch;  it  does  not  re- 
main on  the  ground  hunting  food  as  does 
the  robin.  The  nest  is  usually  built  in  a 
hole  in  a  tree  or  post  and  is  made  of  soft 
grass.  A  hollow  apple  tree  is  a  favorite 
nesting  site. 

In  building  birdhouses  we  should  bear 
in  mind  that  a  cavity  about  ten  inches 
deep  and  six  inches  in  height  and  width 
will  give  a  pair  of  bluebirds  room  for 
building  a  nest.  The  opening  should  not 
be  more  than  two  or  two  and  one-half 
inches  in  diameter  and  there  should  be 
no  threshold;  this  latter  is  a  very  particu- 
lar point.  If  there  is  a  threshold  or  place 
to  alight  upon,  the  sparrows  are  likely  to 
dispute  with  the  bluebirds  and  drive  them 
away,  but  the  sparrow  does  not  care  for  a 


64  ANIMALS 

place  which  has  no  threshold.  The  box  for 
the  bluebird  may  be  made  out  of  old 
boards  or  may  be  a  section  of  an  old  tree 
trunk;  it  should  be  fastened  from  six  to 
fifteen  feet  above  the  ground,  and  should 
be  in  nowise  noticeable  in  color  from  its 
surroundings.  To  protect  the  nest  from 
cats,  barbed  wire  should  be  wound  around 
the  tree  or  post  below  the  box.  If  the  box 
for  the  nest  is  placed  upon  a  post,  the 
barbed  wire  will  also  protect  it  from 
the  squirrels.  The  eggs  are  bluish  white; 
the  young  birds  in  their  first  feathers  are 
spotted  on  the  back  and  have  whitish 
breasts  mottled  with  brown.  The  food  of 
the  nestlings  is  almost  entirely  insects.  In 
fact,  this  bird  during  its  entire  life  is  a 
great  friend  to  man.  The  food  of  the  adult 
is  more  than  three-fourths  insects  and  the 
remainder  is  wild  berries  and  fruits,  the 
winter  food  being  largely  mistletoe  ber- 
ries. It  makes  a  specialty  of  beetles,  cater- 
pillars, and  grasshoppers,  and  seems  never 
to  touch  any  of  our  cultivated  fruits.  We 
should  do  everything  in  our  power  to  en- 
courage and  protect  these  birds  from  their 
enemies,  which  are  chiefly  cats,  squirrels, 
and  English  sparrows. 

The  migration  takes  place  in  flocks  dur- 
ing autumn,  but  it  is  done  in  a  most  lei- 
surely manner  with  frequent  stops  where 
food  is  plenty.  The  bluebirds  we  see  in 
September  are  probably  not  the  ones  we 
have  had  with  us  during  the  summer,  but 
are  those  which  have  come  from  farther 
north. 

They  winter  largely  in  the  Gulf  states; 
the  writer  has  often  heard  them  singing 
in  midwinter  in  southern  Mississippi.  The 
bluebirds  seem  to  be  the  only  ones  that 
sing  while  at  their  winter  resorts.  They  live 
the  year  round  in  the  Bermudas,  contrast- 
ing their  heavenly  blue  plumage  with  the 
vivid  red  of  the  cardinals.  The  bluebird 
should  not  be  confused  with  the  indigo 
bunting;  the  latter  is  darker  blue  and  has  a 
blue  breast. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  24;  Bird-House  to  Let,  by 
Mary  F.  Terrel;  Bird  Stories  from  Bur- 
roughs, by  John  Burroughs;  First  Lessons 


in  Nature  Study,  by  Edith  M.  Patch;  Na- 
ture and  Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch  and  Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  i, 
Hunting,  Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits;  Science 
Stories,  by  Wilbur  L.  Beauchamp,  W.  S. 
Gray  and  Co-authors,  Book  i;  also,  read- 
ings on  pages  28-29. 

Winged  lute  that  we  call  a  bluebird, 

You  blend  in  a  silver  strain 
The  sound  of  the  laughing  waters, 

The  patter  of  spring's  sweet  rain, 
The  voice  of  the  winds,  the  sunshine, 

And  fragrance  of  blossoming  things. 
Ah!  You  are  an  April  poem, 

That  God  has  dowered  with  wings. 
—  "  THE  BLUEBIRD/'  REXFORD 


LESSON  12 
THE  BLUEBIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT —  The  bluebird  is 
related  to  the  robins  and  thrushes  and  is 
as  beneficial  as  it  is  beautiful.  We  should 
study  its  habits  and  learn  how  to  make 
nesting  boxes  for  it,  and  protect  it  in  all 
ways. 

METHOD  — The  observations  of  this 
lesson  must  be  made  in  the  field  and  by 
the  pupils  individually.  Give  to  each  an 
outline  of  questions  to  answer  through 
seeing.  There  should  follow  reading  les- 
sons on  the  bluebird's  value  to  us  and  its 
winter  migrations,  and  the  lesson  should 
end  in  discussions  of  the  best  way  to  build 
boxes  for  its  use  in  nesting  season,  its  pro- 
tection from  cats  and  other  enemies. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Which  comes  north 
earlier  in  spring,  the  robin  or  the  blue- 
bird? 

2.  How  do  the  two  resemble  each  othei 
and  differ  from  each  other? 

3.  Describe  the  bluebirds'  song.  Do 
they  sing  all  summer? 

4.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  bluebird 
as  follows:  the  head,  back,  breast,  under 
parts,  wings,  tail.  Flow  does  the  male  blue- 
bird differ  from  his  mate  in  colors? 

5.  Where  were  the  bluebirds  you  saw? 
What  were  they  doing?  If  feeding,  how 
did  they  act? 

6.  Can  you  see  the  color  of  the  blue- 


bird  as  plainly  when  it  is  in  a  tree  as  when 
it  is  flying?  If  not,  why? 

7.  Where  do  the  bluebirds  build  their 
nests?  Of  what  material  are  the  nests 
made?  Do  both  parents  work  at  the  nest 
building? 

8.  What  is  the  color  of  the  eggs?  How 
do  the  young  birds  look,  when  old  enough 
to  leave  the  nest,  as  compared  with  their 
parents? 

9.  What  do  the  bluebirds  eat?  How  do 
they  benefit  us? 

10.  What  can  we  do  to  induce  the  blue- 
birds to  live  near  our  houses?  How  can  we 
protect  them? 

1 1 .  Where  do  the  bluebirds  spend  the 
winter? 


BIRDS  65 

12.  Make  a  colored  picture  of  a  blue- 
bird. How  can  we  tell  the  bluebird  from 
the  indigo  bunting? 

13.  What  are  the  bluebirds*  chief  ene- 
mies? 


Hark/  'tis  the  bluebird's  venturous  strain 
High  on  the  old  fringed  elm  at  the 

gate  - 
Sweet-voiced,    valiant    on    the    swaying 

bough, 
Alert,  elate, 
Dodging  the  fitful  spits  of  snow, 

New  England's  poet-laureate 
Telling  us  Spring  has  come  again/ 

—  THOMAS  BAILEY  ALDRICH 


THE  WHITE-BREASTED  NUTHATCH 

The  busy  nuthatch  climbs  his  tree 
Around  the  great  bole  spirally, 
Peeping  into  wrinkles  gray, 
Under  ruffled  lichens  gay, 
Lazily  piping  one  sharp  note 
From  his  silver  mailed  throat. 

—  MAURICE  THOMPSON 


Blithe  and  mellow  is  the  ringing  "  ank, 
ank  "  note  of  the  nuthatch,  and  why  need 
we  allude  to  its  nasal  timbre!  While  it 
is  not  a  strictly  musical  note,  it  has  a  most 
enticing  quality  and  translates  into  sound 
the  picture  of  bare-branched  trees  and  the 
feeling  of  enchantment  which  permeates 
the  forest  in  winter;  it  is  one  of  the  most 
"woodsy"  notes  in  the  bird  repertoire. 
And  while  the  singer  of  this  note  is  not 
so  bewitching  as  his  constant  chum  the 
chickadee,  yet  he  has  many  interesting 
ways  quite  his  own.  Nor  is  this  "ank, 
ank  "  his  only  note.  I  have  often  heard 
a  pair  talking  to  each  other  in  sweet  confi- 
dential syllables,  "  wit,  wit,  wit/'  very  dif- 
ferent from  the  loud  note  meant  for  the 
world  at  large.  The  nuthatches  and  chicka- 
dees hunt  together  all  winter;  it  is  no  mere 
business  partnership  but  a  matter  of  con- 
genial tastes.  The  chickadees  hunt  over 
the  twigs  and  smaller  branches,  while  the 
nuthatches  usually  prefer  the  tree  trunks 


and  the  bases  of  the  branches;  both  birds 
like  the  looks  of  the  world  upside  down, 
and  while  the  chickadee  hangs  head  down 
from  a  twig,  the  nuthatch  is  quite  likely 
to  alight  head  down  on  a  tree  bole,  hold- 
ing itself  safely  in  this  position  by  thrust- 
ing its  toes  out  at  right  angles  to  the  body, 
thus  getting  a  firm  hold  upon  the  bark. 
Sometimes  its  foot  will  be  twisted  com- 
pletely around,   the  front  toes   pointed 
up  the  tree.  The  foot  is  well  adapted  for 
clinging  to  the  bark  as  the  front  toes  are 
strong  and   the  hind  toe  is  very  long 
and  is  armed  with  a  strong  claw.  Thus 
equipped,  this  bird  runs  about  on  the  tree 
so  rapidly  that  it  has  earned  the  name  of 
"tree  mouse/'   It  often  ascends  a  tree 
trunk  spirally  but  is  not  so  hidebound  in 
this  habit  as  is  the  brown  creeper.  It  runs 
up  or  down  freely,  head  first,  and  never 
flops  down  backwards  like  a  woodpecker. 
In  color  the  nuthatch  is  bluish  gray 
above  with  white  throat  and  breast  and 


66 


reddish  underparts.  The  sides  of  the  head 
are  white;  the  black  cap  extends  back  upon 
the  neck  but  is  not  "  pulled  down  "  to  the 
eyes  as  with  the  chickadees.  The  wing 
feathers  are  dark  brown  edged  with  pale 
gray.  The  upper  middle  tail  feathers  are 
bluish  like  the  back;  the  others  are  dark 
brown  and  tipped  with  white  in  such  a 


ANIMALS 

acorn  into  a  seam  in  the  bark  and  then 
throw  back  its  head,  woodpecker  fashion, 
and  drive  home  its  chisel  beak.  But  it  does 
not  always  use  common  sense  in  this 
habit.  I  have  often  seen  one  cut  off  a  piece 
of  suet,  fly  off  and  thrust  it  into  some 
crevice,  and  hammer  it  as  hard  as  if  it 
were  encased  in  a  walnut  shell.  This  al- 


A  family  oj  white-breasted  nuthatches 


S.  A.  Grimes 


manner  that  the  tail  when  spread  shows 
a  broad  white  border  on  both  sides.  The 
most  striking  contrast  between  the  chicka- 
dee and  nuthatch  in  markings  is  that  the 
latter  lacks  the  black  bib.  However,  its 
entire  shape  is  very  different  from  that 
of  the  chickadee  and  its  beak  is  long  and 
slender,  being  as  long  as  its  head  or  longer, 
while  the  beak  of  the  chickadee  is  a 
short,  sharp  little  pick.  The  bill  of  the 
nuthatch  is  fitted  to  reach  in  crevices  of 
the  bark  and  pull  out  hiding  insects,  or 
to  hammer  open  the  shell  of  nut  or  acorn 
and  get  both  the  meat  of  the  nut  and  the 
grub  feeding  upon  it.  It  will  wedge  an 


ways  seems  bad  manners,  like  carrying  off 
fruit  from  table  d'hote;  but  the  nuthatch 
is  polite  enough  in  using  a  napkin,  for 
after  eating  the  suet,  it  invariably  wipes  its 
bill  on  a  branch  most  assiduously,  first 
one  side  then  the  other,  until  it  is  per- 
fectly clean. 

The  nuthatches  are  a  great  benefit  to 
our  trees  in  winter,  for  then  is  when  they 
hunt  for  hiding  pests  on  the  trunks. 
Their  food  consists  of  beetles,  caterpillars, 
pupas  of  various  insects,  also  seeds  of  rag- 
weed, sunflowers,  acorns,  etc.  While  the 
nuthatch  finds  much  of  its  food  on  trees, 
yet  Mr.  Torrey  has  seen  it  awkwardly  turn- 


BIRDS 


ing  over  fallen  leaves  hunting  for  insects, 
and  Mr.  Baskett  says  it  sometimes  catches 
insects  on  the  wing  and  gets  quite  out  of 
breath  from  this  unusual  exercise. 

It  is  only  during  the  winter  that  we  com- 
monly see  the  nuthatches,  for  during  the 
nesting  season  they  usually  retire  to  the 
deep  woods,  where  they  may  occupy  a 
cavity  in  a  tree  used  by  a  woodpecker  last 
year,  or  may  make  a  hole  for  themselves 
with  their  sharp  beaks.  The  nest  is  lined 
with  leaves,  feathers,  and  hair;  from  five 
to  nine  creamy,  speckled  eggs  are  the 
treasure  of  this  cave. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  59;  The  Nature  Hour,  by  Lucille 
Nicol,  S.  M.  Levenson,  and  Teressa  Kahn, 
Sixth  Year,  Spring;  also,  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 

LESSON  13 
THE  NUTHATCH 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  nuthatch  is 
often  a  companion  of  the  chickadees  and 
woodpeckers.  It  has  no  black  bib,  like  the 
chickadee,  and  it  alights  on  a  tree  trunk 
head  downward,  which  distinguishes  it 
from  woodpeckers. 

METHOD  —  This  bird,  like  the  chicka- 
dee and  downy,  gladly  shares  the  suet  ban- 


A  characteristic  pose 


L.  H.  Bailey 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

The  nuthatch  runs  head  first  down  tree 
trunks  in  search  of  insects.  Here  he  is  eating 
suet  which  has  been  fastened  to  the  tree 


quet  we  prepare  for  them  and  may  be  ob- 
served at  leisure  while  "  at  table."  The 
contrast  between  the  habits  of  the  nut- 
hatch and  those  of  its  companions  makes 
it  a  most  valuable  aid  in  stimulating  close 
and  keen  observation  on  the  part  of  the 
pupils. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Where  have  you 
seen  the  nuthatches?  Were  they  with 
other  birds?  What  other  birds? 

2.  Does  a  nuthatch  usually  alight  on 
the  ends  of  the  branches  of  a  tree  or  on 
the  trunk  and  larger  limbs?  Does  it  usu- 
ally alight  head  down  or  up?  When  it  runs 
down  the  tree,  does  it  go  head  first  or  does 
it  back  down?  When  it  ascends  the  tree, 
does  it  follow  a  spiral  path?  Does  it  use 
its  tail  for  a  brace  when  climbing,  as  does 
the  downy? 

3.  How  does  the  arrangement  of  the 
nuthatch's  toes  assist  it  in  climbing?  Are 
the  three  front  toes  of  each  foot  directed 
downward  when  the  bird  alights  head 
downward?  How  does  it  manage  its  feet 
when  in  this  position? 

4.  What  is  the  general  color  of  the  nut- 
hatch above  and  below?  The  color  of  the 
top  and  sides  of  head?  Color  of  back? 
Wings?  Tail?  Throat?  Breast? 

5.  Does  the  black  cap  come  down  to 


68 


ANIMALS 


the  eyes  on  the  nuthatch  as  on  the  chicka- 
dee? Has  the  nuthatch  a  black  bib? 

6.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  beak  of  the 
nuthatch?  For  what  is  it  adapted?  How 
does  it  differ  from  the  beak  of  the  chicka- 
dee? 

7.  What  is  the  food  of  the  nuthatch? 
Where  is  it  found?  Does  it  open  nuts  for 
the  grubs  or  the  nut  meat?  Observe  the 
way  it  strikes  its  beak  into  the  suet;  why 
does  it  strike  so  hard? 


8.  How   would   you    spell   this  bird's 
note?  Have  you  heard  it  give  more  than 
one  note? 

9.  How  does  the  nuthatch  benefit  our 
trees?  At  what  season  does  it  benefit  them 
most?  Why? 

10.  Where  do   the  nuthatches  build 
their  nests?  Why  do  we  see  the  nut- 
hatches oftener  in  winter  than  in  sum- 
mer? 


Acadian  chickadees 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 


THE  CHICKADEE 

He  Is  the  hero  of  the  woods;  there  are  courage  and  good  nature  enough  in  that 
compact  little  body,  which  you  may  hide  in  your  fist,  to  supply  a  whole  groveful 
of  May  songsters.  He  has  the  Spartan  virtue  of  an  eagle,  the  cheerfulness  of  a  thrush, 
the  nimbleness  of  Code  Sparrow,  the  endurance  of  the  sea-birds  condensed  into  his 
tiny  frame,  and  there  have  been  added  a  pertness  and  ingenuity  all  his  own.  His  curi- 
osity is  immense,  and  his  audacity  equal  to  it;  I  have  even  had  one  alight  upon  the 
barrel  of  the  gun  over  my  shoulders  as  I  sat  quietly  under  his  tree. 

—  ERNEST  INGERSOLL 


However  careless  we  may  be  of  our  bird 
friends  when  we  are  in  the  midst  of  the 
luxurious  life  of  summer,  even  the  most 
careless  among  us  give  pleased  attention 
to  the  birds  that  bravely  endure  with 
us  the  rigors  of  winter.  And  when  this 
winged  companion  of  winter  proves  to  be 
the  most  fascinating  little  ball  of  feathers 
ever  created,  constantly  overflowing  with 
cheerful  song,  our  pleased  attention 
changes  to  active  delight.  Thus  it  is,  that 
in  all  the  lands  of  snowy  winters  the 
chickadee  is  a  loved  comrade  of  the  coun- 
try wayfarer;  that  happy  song  "  chick-a- 
dee-dee-dee  "  finds  its  way  to  the  dullest 


consciousness  and  the  most  callous  heart. 
The  chickadees  appear  in  small  flocks 
in  the  winter  and  often  in  company  with 
the  nuthatches.  The  chickadees  work  on 
the  twigs  and  ends  of  branches,  while  the 
nuthatches  usually  mine  the  bark  of  the 
trunk  and  larger  branches,  the  former 
hunting  insect  eggs  and  the  latter,  insects 
tucked  away  in  winter  quarters.  When  the 
chickadee  is  prospecting  for  eggs,  it  first 
looks  the  twig  over  from  above  and  then 
hangs  head  down  and  inspects  it  from  be- 
low; it  is  a  thorough  worker  and  doesn't  in- 
tend to  overlook  anything  whatever;  and 
however  busily  it  is  hunting,  it  always  finds 


BIRDS 


time  for  singing;  whether  on  the  wing  or 
perched  upon  a  twig  or  hanging  from  it 
like  an  acrobat,  head  down,  it  sends  forth 
its  happy  "  chickadeedee "  to  assure  us 
that  this  world  is  all  right  and  good 
enough  for  anybody.  Besides  this  song,  it 
begins  in  February  to  sing  a  most  seductive 
"  fee-bee/7  giving  a  rising  inflection  to  the 
first  syllable  and  a  long,  falling  inflection 
to  the  last,  which  makes  it  a  very  different 
song  from  the  short,  jerky  notes  of  the 
flycatcher  called  phoebe,  which  cuts  the 
last  syllable  short  and  gives  it  a  rising  in- 
flection. More  than  this,  the  chickadee 
has  some  chatty  conversational  notes,  and 
now  and  then  performs  a  bewitching  little 
yodel,  which  is  a  fit  expression  of  its  own 
delicious  personality. 

The  general  effect  of  the  colors  of  the 
chickadee  is  grayish  brown  above  and 
grayish  white  below.  The  top  of  the  head 
is  black,  the  sides  white,  and  it  has  a  se- 
ductive little  black  bib  under  its  chin. 
The  back  is  grayish,  the  wings  and  tail  are 
dark  gray,  the  feathers  having  white  mar- 
gins. The  breast  is  grayish  white  changing 
to  buff  or  brownish  at  the  sides  and  below. 
It  is  often  called  the  "  Black-capped  Tit- 
mouse/7 and  it  may  always  be  distin- 


S.  A.  Grimes 

Black-capped  chickadees.  The  friendly  chick- 
adee is  easily  tamed 


A  "  banded  ' 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

chickadee 


guished  by  black  cap  and  black  bib.  It  is 
smaller  than  the  English  sparrow;  its  beak 
is  a  sharp  little  pick  just  fitted  for  taking 
insect  eggs  off  twigs  and  from  under  bark. 
Insects  are  obliged  to  pass  the  winter  in 
some  stage  of  their  existence,  and  many  of 
them  wisely  remain  in  the  egg  until  there 
is  something  worth  doing  in  the  way  of 
eating.  These  eggs  are  glued  fast  to  the 
food  trees  by  the  mother  insect  and  thus 
provide  abundant  food  for  the  chicka- 
dees. It  has  been  estimated  that  one 
chickadee  will  destroy  several  hundred  in- 
sect eggs  in  one  day,  and  it  has  been 
proved  that  orchards  frequented  by  these 
birds  are  much  more  free  from  insect  pests 
than  other  orchards  in  the  same  locality. 
They  can  be  enticed  into  orchards  by  put- 
ting up  beef  fat  or  bones  and  thus  we 
can  secure  their  valuable  service.  In  sum- 
mer these  birds  attack  caterpillars  and 
other  insects. 

When  it  comes  to  nest  building,  if  the 
chickadees  cannot  find  a  house  to  rent 
they  proceed  to  dig  out  a  proper  hole  from 
some  decaying  tree,  which  they  line  with 
moss,  feathers,  fur,  or  some  other  soft  ma- 
terial. The  nest  is  often  not  higher  than 
six  to  ten  feet  from  the  ground.  One 
which  I  studied  was  in  a  decaying  fence 
post.  The  eggs  are  white,  sparsely  speckled 
and  spotted  with  lilac  or  rufous.  The 
young  birds  are  often  eight  in  number. 
How  these  fubsy  birdlings  manage  to  pack 
themselves  in  such  a  small  hole  is  a  won- 
der; it  probably  gives  them  good  discipline 
in  bearing  hardships  cheerfully. 


7o 


ANIMALS 


SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Aiidubon 
Bird  Leaflet  61;  Bird  Stories,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs,  by 
John  Burroughs;  Nature  and  Science 
Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison 
E.  Howe,  Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits;  Win- 
ter, by  Dallas  Lore  Sharp;  also,  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 

LESSON  14 
THE  CHICKADEE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  chickadee  is 
as  useful  as  it  is  delightful;  it  remains  in 
the  North  during  winter,  working  hard 
to  clear  our  trees  of  insect  eggs  and  sing- 
ing cheerily  all  day.  It  is  so  friendly  that 
we  can  induce  it  to  come  even  to  the 
window  sill  by  putting  out  suet  to  show 
our  friendly  interest. 


METHOD  —  Put  beef  fat  on  the  trees 
near  the  schoolhouse  in  December  and 
replenish  it  about  every  two  or  three 
weeks.  The  chickadees  will  come  to  the 
feast  and  may  be  observed  all  winter.  Give 
the  questions  a  few  at  a  time  and  let  the 
children  read  in  the  bird  books  a  record  of 
the  benefits  derived  from  this  bird. 


OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Where  have  you 
seen  the  chickadees?  What  were  they  do- 
ing? Were  there  several  together? 

2.  What  is  the  common  song  of  the 
chickadee?  What  other  notes  has  it?  Have 
you  heard  it  yodel?   Have  you  heard  it 
sing  "  fee-bee,  fee-bee  "?  How  does  this 
song  differ  from  that  of  the  phcebe?  Does 
it  sing  on  the  wing  or  when  at  rest? 

3.  What  is  the  color  of  the  chickadee: 
top  and  sides  of  head,  back,  wings,  tail, 
throat,  breast,  under  parts? 

4.  Compare  the  size  of  the  chickadee 
with  that  of  the  English  sparrow. 

5.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  chickadee's 
bill  and  for  what  is  it  adapted?  What  is 
the  food  in  winter?  Where  does  the  bird 
find  it?  How  does  it  act  when  feeding  and 
hunting  for  food? 

6.  Does  the  chickadee  usually  alight  on 
the  ends  of  the  branches  or  on  the  larger 
portions  near  the  trunk  of  the  tree? 

7.  How  can  you  distinguish  the  chicka- 
dees  from  their  companions,  the  nut- 
hatches? 

8.  Does  the  chickadee  ever  seem  dis- 
couraged by  the  snow  and  cold  weather? 
Do   you   know  another   name    for   the 
chickadee? 

9.  Where  does  it  build  its  nest?  Of 
what  material?  Have  you  ever  watched 
one  of  these  nests?  If  so,  tell  about  it. 

10.  How  does  the  chickadee  benefit  our 
orchards  and  shade  trees?  How  can  we 
induce  it  to  feel  at  home  with  us  and  work 
for  us? 


THE  DOWNY  WOODPECKER 


Friend  Downy  is  the  name  this  at- 
tractive little  neighbor  has  earned,  be- 
cause it  is  so  friendly  to  those  of  us  who 
love  trees.  Watch  it  as  it  hunts  each  crack 
and  crevice  of  the  bark  of  your  favorite 
apple  or  shade  tree,  seeking  assiduously  for 
cocoons  and  insects  hiding  there,  and  you 
will  soon,  of  your  own  accord,  call  it 
friend;  you  will  soon  love  its  black  and 
white  uniform,  which  consists  of  a  black 
coat  speckled  and  barred  with  white,  and 
whitish  gray  vest  and  trousers.  The  front 


of  the  head  is  black  and  there  is  a  black 
streak  extending  backward  from  the  eye 
with  a  white  streak  above  and  also  below 
it.  The  male  has  a  vivid  red  patch  on  the 
back  of  the  head,  but  his  wife  shows  no 
such  giddiness;  plain  black  and  white  are 
good  enough  for  her.  In  both  sexes  the 
throat  and  breast  are  white,  the  middle 
tail  feathers  black,  while  the  side  tail  feath- 
ers are  white,  barred  with  black  at  their 
tips. 
The  downy  has  a  way  of  alighting  low 


BIRDS 

down  on  a  tree  trunk  or  at  the  base  of  a 
larger  branch  and  climbing  upward  in  a 
jerky  fashion;  it  never  runs  about  over  the 
tree  nor  does  it  turn  around  and  go  down 
head  Erst,  like  the  nuthatch;  if  it  wishes 
to  go  down  a  short  distance  it  accom- 
plishes this  by  a  few  awkward,  backward 
hops;  but  when  it  really  wishes  to  descend, 
it  flies  off  and  down.  The  downy,  like 
other  woodpeckers,  has  a  special  arrange- 
ment of  its  physical  machinery  which  en- 
ables it  to  climb  trees  in  its  own  manner. 
It  can  grasp  the  bark  on  the  side  of  a  tree 
more  firmly  because  its  fourth  toe  is 
turned  backward  and  works  as  a  com- 
panion with  the  thumb.  Thus  it  is  able 
to  clutch  the  bark  as  with  a  pair  of  nip- 
pers, two  claws  in  front  and  two  claws  be- 
hind; and  as  another  aid,  the  tail  is  ar- 
ranged to  prop  the  bird,  like  a  bracket. 
The  tail  is  rounded  in  shape  and  the  mid- 
dle feathers  have  rather  strong  quills;  but 
the  secret  of  the  adhesion  of  the  tail  to 
the  bark  lies  in  the  great  profusion  of 
barbs  which,  at  the  edge  of  the  feathers, 
offer  bristling  tips,  and  when  applied  to 
the  side  of  the  tree  act  like  a  wire  brush 
with  all  the  wires  pushing  downward. 
This  explains  why  the  woodpecker  can- 
not go  backward  without  lifting  the  tail. 
But  even  more  wonderful  than  this  is 
the  mechanism  by  which  the  downy  and 
hairy  woodpeckers  get  their  food,  which 
consists  largely  of  wood-borers  or  larvae 
working  under  the  bark.  When  the  wood- 
pecker wishes  to  get  a  grub  in  the  wood, 
it  seizes  the  bark  firmly  with  its  feet,  uses 
its  tail  as  a  brace,  throws  its  head  and  up- 
per part  of  the  body  as  far  back  as  pos- 
sible, and  then  drives  a  powerful  blow 
with  its  strong  beak.  The  beak  is  adapted 
for  just  this  purpose,  as  it  is  wedge-shaped 
at  the  end,  and  is  used  like  a  mason's  drill 
sometimes,  and  sometimes  like  a  pick. 
When  the  bird  uses  its  beak  as  a  pick,  it 
strikes  hard,  deliberate  blows  and  the 
chips  fly;  but  when  it  is  drilling,  it  strikes 
rapidly  and  not  so  hard  and  quickly  drills 
a  small,  deep  hole  leading  directly  to  the 
burrow  of  the  grub.  When  finally  the  grub 
is  reached,  it  would  seem  well-nigh  impos- 
sible to  pull  it  out  through  a  hole  which  is 


Friend  Downy 


L.  "W.  Brownell 


too  small  and  deep  to  admit  of  the  beak 
being  used  as  pincers.  This  is  another  story 
and  a  very  interesting  one;  the  downy  and 
hairy  can  both  extend  their  tongues  far 
beyond  the  point  of  the  beak,  and  the  tip 
of  the  tongue  is  hard  and  horny  and  cov- 
ered with  short  backward-slanting  hooks 
acting  like  a  spear  or  harpoon;  and  thus 
when  the  tongue  is  thrust  into  the  grub  it 
pulls  it  out  easily.  The  bones  of  the  tongue 
have  a  spring  arrangement;  when  not  in 


Friend  Downy's  foot 


use,  the  tongue  lies  soft  in  the  mouth,  like 
a  wrinkled  earthworm,  but  when  in  use? 
the  bones  spring  out,  stretching  it  to  its 
full  length,  and  it  is  then  slim  and  small. 
The  process  is  like  fastening  a  pencil  to  the 
tip  of  a  glove  finger;  when  drawn  back  the 
finger  is  wrinkled  together,  but  when 
thrust  out,  it  straightens.  This  spring  ar- 
rangement of  the  bones  of  the  woodpeck- 
er's tongue  is  a  marvelous  mechanism 
and  should  be  studied  through  pictures. 
Since  the  food  of  the  downy  and  the 


ANIMALS 


hairy  is  where  they  can  get  it  all  winter, 
there  is  no  need  for  them  to  go  south; 
thus  they  stay  with  us  and  work  for  us  the 
entire  year.  We  should  try  to  make  them 
feel  at  home  with  us  in  our  orchards  and 
shade  trees  by  putting  up  pieces  of  beef 
fat,  to  convince  them  of  their  welcome. 
No  amount  of  free  food  will  pauperize 
these  birds,  for  as  soon  as  they  have  eaten 
of  the  fat,  they  commence  to  hunt  for 
grubs  on  the  tree  and  thus  earn  their  feast. 
They  never  injure  live  wood. 

James  Whitcomb  Riley  describes  the 
drumming  of  the  woodpecker  as  "  weed- 


A.  A.  Allen 


Part  of  the  tree  has  been  cut  away  to  show 
Downy's  nest 

ing  out  the  lonesomeness  "  and  that  is  ex- 
actly what  the  drumming  of  the  wood- 
pecker means.  The  male  selects  some 
dried  limb  of  hard  wood  and  there  beats 
out  his  well-known  signal  which  adver- 
tises far  and  near,  "  Wanted,  a  wife."  And 
after  he  wins  her,  he  still  drums  on  for  a 
time  to  cheer  her  while  she  is  busy  with 
her  family  cares.  The  woodpecker  has  no 
voice  for  singing,  like  the  robin  or  thrush; 
and  luckily,  he  does  not  insist  on  singing, 
like  the  peacock,  whether  he  can  or  not. 
He  chooses  rather  to  devote  his  voice  to 
terse  and  business-like  conversation;  and 
when  he  is  musically  inclined,  he  turns 
drummer.  He  is  rather  particular  about  his 
instrument,  and  having  found  one  that  is 


sufficiently  resonant  he  returns  to  it  day 
after  day.  While  it  is  ordinarily  the  male 
that  drums,  I  once  observed  a  female 
drumming.  I  told  her  that  she  was  a  bold 
minx  and  ought  to  be  ashamed  of  her- 
self; but  within  twenty  minutes  she  had 
drummed  up  two  red-capped  suitors  who 
chased  each  other  about  with  great  ani- 
mosity, so  her  performance  was  evidently 
not  considered  improper  in  woodpecker 
society.  I  have  watched  a  rival  pair  of  male 
downies  fight  for  hours  at  a  time,  but  their 
duel  was  of  the  French  brand  —  much 
fuss  and  no  bloodshed.  They  advanced 
upon  each  other  with  much  haughty  glar- 
ing and  many  scornful  bobs  of  the  head, 
but  when  they  were  sufficiently  near  to 
stab  each  other  they  beat  a  mutual  and 
circumspect  retreat.  Although  we  hear  the 
male  clownies  drumming  every  spring,  I 
doubt  if  they  are  calling  for  new  wives;  I 
believe  they  are,  instead,  calling  the  atten- 
tion of  their  lawful  spouses  to  the  fact  that 
it  is  time  for  nest  building  to  begin.  I  have 
come  to  this  conclusion  because  the 
downies  and  hairies  which  I  have  watched 
for  years  have  always  come  in  pairs  to  par- 
take of  suet  during  the  entire  winter;  and 
while  only  one  at  a  time  sits  at  meat  and 
the  lord  and  master  is  somewhat  bossy,  yet 
they  seem  to  get  along  as  well  as  most  mar- 
ried pairs. 

The  downy7  s  nest  is  a  hole,  usually  in  a 
partly  decayed  tree;  an  old  apple  tree  is  a 
favorite  site  and  a  fresh  excavation  is  made 
each  year.  There  are  from  four  to  six  white 
eggs,  which  are  laid  on  a  nice  bed  of  chips 
almost  as  fine  as  sawdust.  The  cloor  to  the 
nest  is  a  circle  about  an  inch  and  a  quarter 
across. 

The  hairy  woodpecker  is  fully  one-third 
larger  than  the  downy,  measuring  nine 
inches  from  tip  of  beak  to  tip  of  tail,  while 
the  downy  measures  only  about  six  inches. 
The  tail  feathers  at  the  side  are  white  for 
the  entire  length,  while  they  are  barred  at 
the  tips  in  the  downy.  There  is  a  black 
"  parting  "  through  the  middle  of  the  red 
patch  on  the  back  of  the  hairy 's  head.  The 
two  species  are  so  much  alike  that  it  is 
difficult  for  the  beginner  to  tell  them 
apart.  Their  habits  are  very  similar,  except 


BIRDS 

that  the  hairy  lives  in  the  woods  and  is  not      trunk? 
so  commonly  seen  in  orchards  or  on  shade 
trees.  The  food  of  the  hairy  is  much  like 
that   of  the  downy;   it  is,   therefore,  a 
beneficial  bird  and  should  be  protected. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  55;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs, 
by  John  Burroughs;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Trox- 
ell,  Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  Nature 
and  Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch 
and  Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  i,  Hunting, 
Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits;  also,  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 


LESSON  15 
THE  DOWNY  WOODPECKER 

LEADING  THOUGHT—  The  downy 
woodpecker  remains  with  us  all  winter, 
feeding  upon  insects  that  are  wintering  in 
crevices  and  beneath  the  bark  of  our  trees. 
It  is  fitted  especially  by  shape  of  beak, 
tongue,  feet,  and  tail  to  get  such  food  and 
is  a  "  friend  in  need  "  to  our  forest,  shade, 
and  orchard  trees. 

METHOD  —  If  a  piece  of  beef  fat  be 
fastened  upon  the  trunk  or  branch  of  a 
tree  which  can  be  seen  from  the  school- 
room windows,  there  will  be  no  lack  of  in- 
terest in  this  friendly  little  bird;  for  the 
downy  will  sooner  or  later  find  this  feast 
spread  for  it  and  will  come  every  day  to 
partake.  Give  out  the  questions,  a  few  at  a 
time,  and  discuss  the  answers  with  the 
pupils. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  What  is  the  gen- 
eral color  of  the  downy  above  and  below? 
The  color  of  the  top  of  the  head?  Sides  of 
the  head?  The  throat  and  breast?  The 
color  and  markings  of  the  wings?  Color 
and  markings  of  the  middle  and  side  tail 
feathers? 

2.  Do  all  downy  woodpeckers  have  the 
red  patch  at  the  back  of  the  head? 

3.  What  is  the  note  of  the  downy? 
Does  it  make  any  other  sound?  Have  you 
ever  seen  one  drumming?  At  what  time  of 
the  year?  On  what  did  it  drum?  What  did 
it  use  for  a  drumstick?  What  do  you  sup- 
pose was  the  purpose  of  this  music? 

4.  How  does  the  downy  climb  a  tree 


73 

How  does  it  descend?  How 
do  its  actions  differ  from  those  of  the  nut- 
hatch? 

5.  How  does  the  arrangement  of  the 
woodpecker's  toes  help  it  in  climbing  a 
tree  trunk?  How  does  this  arrangement  of 
toes  differ  from  that  of  other  birds? 

6.  How  does  the  downy  use  its  tail  to 
assist  it  in  climbing?  What  is  the  shape  of 
the  tail  and  how  is  it  adapted  to  assist? 

7.  What  does  the  downy  eat  and  where 
does  it  find  its  food?  Describe  how  it  gets 
at  its  food.  What  is  the  shape  of  its  bill 
and  how  is  it  fitted  for  getting  the  food? 
Tell  how  the  downy's  tongue  is  used  to 
spear  the  grub. 

8.  Why  do  you  think  the  downy  does 
not  go  south  in  winter? 

9.  Of  what  use  is  this  bird  to  us?  How 
should  we  protect  it  and  entice  it  into  our 
orchards? 

10.  Write   an    account    of   how    the 
downy  builds  its  nest  and  rears  its  young. 

A  few  seasons  ago  a  downy  woodpecker, 
probably  the  individual  one  who  is  now 
my  winter  neighbor,  began  to  drum  early 
in  March  in  a  partly  decayed  apple-tree 
that  stands  in  the  edge  of  a  narrow  strip  of 
woodland  near  me.  When  the  morning 
was  still  and  mild  I  would  often  hear  him 
through  my  window  before  I  was  up,  or  b} 
half-past  six  o'clock,  and  he  would  keep  it 
up  pretty  briskly  till  nine  or  ten  o'clock,  in 
this  respect  resembling  the  grouse,  which 
do  most  of  their  drumming  in  the  fore- 
noon. His  drum  was  the  stub  of  a  dry  limb 
about  the  size  of  one's  wrist.  The  heart 
was  decayed  and  gone,  but  the  outer  shell 
was  loud  and  resonant.  The  bird  would 
keep  his  position  there  for  an  hour  at  a 
time.  Between  his  drummings  he  would 
preen  his  plumage  and  listen  as  if  for  the 
response  of  the  female,  or  for  the  drum  of 
some  rival.  How  swift  his  head  would  go 
when  he  was  delivering  his  blows  upon  the 
limb/  His  bealc  wore  the  surface  percep- 
tibly. When  he  wished  to  change  the  key, 
which  was  quite  often,  he  would  shift  his 
position  an  inch  or  two  to  a  knot  which 
gave  out  a  higher,  shriller  note.  When  I 
climbed  up  to  examine  his  drum  he  was 


74  ANIMALS 

much  disturbed.  I  did  not  know  he  was  in 
the  vicinity,  but  it  seems  he  saw  me  from 
a  near  tree,  and  came  in  haste  to  the  neigh- 
boring branches,  and  with  spread  plumage 
and  a  sharp  note  demanded  plainly 
enough  what  my  business  was  with  his 
drum.  I  was  invading  his  privacy,  dese- 
crating his  shrine,  and  the  bird  was  much 
put  out.  After  some  weeks  the  female  ap- 
peared; he  had  literally  drummed  up  a 
mate;  his  urgent  and  oft-repeated  adver- 
tisement was  answered.  Still  the  drum- 
ming did  not  cease,  but  was  quite  as  fer- 
vent as  before.  If  a  mate  could  be  won  by 
drumming  she  could  be  kept  and  enter- 
tained by  more  drumming;  courtship 


should  not  end  with  marriage.  If  the  bird 
felt  musical  before,  of  course  he  felt  much 
more  so  now.  Besides  that,  the  gentle 
deities  needed  propitiating  in  behalf  of 
the  nest  and  young  as  well  as  in  behalf  of 
the  mate.  After  a  time  a  second  female 
came,  when  there  was  war  between  the 
two.  I  did  not  see  them  come  to  blows, 
but  I  saw  one  female  pursuing  the  other 
about  the  place,  and  giving  her  no  rest  for 
several  days.  She  was  evidently  trying  to 
run  her  out  of  the  neighborhood.  Now 
and  then  she,  too,  would  drum  briefly  as 
if  sending  a  triumphant  message  to  her 
mate.  — -  "  WINTER  NEIGHBORS/'  JOHN 
BURROUGHS 


THE  SAPSUCKER 


L.  A.  Fuertes 

The  yellow-bellied  sapsucker 

The  sapsucker  is  a  woodpecker  that 
has  strayed  from  the  paths  of  virtue;  he 
has  fallen  into  temptation  by  the  wayside, 
and  instead  of  drilling  a  hole  for  the  sake 
of  the  grub  at  the  end  of  it,  he  drills  for 


drink.  He  is  a  tippler,  and  sap  is  his  bev- 
erage; and  he  is  also  fond  of  the  soft,  inner 
bark.  He  often  drills  his  holes  in  regular 
rows  and  thus  girdles  a  limb  or  a  tree, 
and  for  this  is  pronounced  a  rascal  by  men 
who  have  themselves  ruthlessly  cut  from 
our  land  millions  of  trees  that  should  now 
be  standing.  It  is  amusing  to  see  a  sap- 
sucker  take  his  tipple,  unless  his  saloon 
happens  to  be  one  of  our  prized  young 
trees.  He  uses  his  bill  as  a  pick  and  makes 
the  chips  fly  as  he  taps  the  tree;  then  he 
goes  away  and  taps  another  tree.  After  a 
time  he  comes  back  and  holding  his  beak 
close  to  the  hole  for  a  long  time  seems  to 
be  sucking  up  the  sap;  he  then  throws 
back  his  head  and  "  swigs "  it  down  with 
every  sign  of  delirious  enjoyment.  The 
avidity  with  which  these  birds  come  to  the 
bleeding  wells  which  they  have  made,  lias 
in  it  all  the  fierceness  of  a  toper  crazy  for 
drink;  they  are  particularly  foncl  of  the 
sap  of  the  mountain  ash,  apple,  thorn  ap- 
ple, canoe  birch,  cut-leaf  birch,  red  maple, 
red  oak,  white  ash,  and  young  pines.  How- 
ever, the  sapsucker  does  not  live  solely  on 
sap;  he  also  feeds  upon  insects  whenever 
he  can  find  them.  When  feeding  their 
young,  the  sapsuckers  are  true  flycatchers 
snatching  insects  while  on  the  wing.  The 
male  has  the  crown  and  throat  crimson, 
edged  with  black  with  a  black  line  extend- 


BIRDS 


75 


ing  back  of  the  eye,  bordered  with  white     tree?  If  there  are  two  rows  or  more,  are  the 
above  and  below.  There  is  a  large,  black      holes  set  evenly  one  below  another? 
circular  patch  on  the  breast  which  is  bor-  ~      " 


dered  at  the  sides  and  below  with  lemon 
yellow.  The  female  is  similar  to  the  male 
and  has  a  red  forehead,  but  she  has  a 
white  bib  instead  of  a  red  one  beneath  the 
chin.  The  distinguishing  marks  of  the  sap- 
sucker  should  be  learned  by  the  pupils. 
The  red  is  on  the  front  of  the  head  instead 
of  on  the  crown,  as  is  the  case  with  the 


2.  Do  the  holes  sink  into  the  wood,  or 
are  they  simply  through  the  bark?  Why 
does  it  injure  or  kill  a  tree  to  be  girdled 
with  these  holes?  Have  you  ever  seen  the 
sapsuckers  making  these'holes?  If  so,  how 
did  they  act? 

3.  How  many  kinds  of  trees  can  you 
find  punctured  by  these  holes?  Are  they 
likely  to  be  young  trees? 

downy  and  hairy;  when  the  bird  is  flying  4.  How  can  you  distinguish  the  sap- 
the  broad,  white  stripes  extending  from  sucker  from  the  other  woodpeckers?  How 
the  shoulders  backward,  form  a  long,  oval  have  the  hairy  and  downy  which  are  such 
figure,  which  is  very  characteristic. 

The  sapsuckers  spend  the  winter  in  the 
southern  states  where  they  drill  wells  in 
the  white  oak  and  other  trees.  From  Vir- 
ginia to  northern  New  York  and  New 
England,  where  they  breed,  they  are  seen 
only  during  migration,  which  occurs  in 
April;  then  the  birds  appear  two  and  three 
together  and  are  very  bold  in  attacking 
shade  trees,  especially  the  white  birch. 
They  nest  only  in  the  northern  United 
States  and  northward.  The  nest  is  usually  In  the  following  winter  the  same  bird 
a  hole  in  a  tree  about  forty  feet  from  the  (a  sapsuclcer)  tapped  a  maple-tree  in  front 
ground,  and  is  likely  to  be  in  a  dead  birch,  of  my  window  in  fifty-six  places;  and, 
SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird  when  the  day  was  sunny  and  the  sap  oozed 
Leaflet  102;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29.  out  he  spent  most  of  his  time  there.  He 

knew  the  good  sap-days,  and  was  on  hand 
promptly  for  his  tipple;  cold  and  cloudy 
days  he  did  not  appear.  He  knew  which 
side  of  the  tree  to  tap,  too,  and  avoided 
the  sunless  northern  exposure.  When  one 
series  of  well-holes  failed  to  supply  him, 
he  would  sink  another,  drilling  through 
the  barfc  with  great  ease  and  quickness. 
Then,  when  the  day  was  warm,  and  the 
sap  ran  freely,  he  would  have  a  regular 
sugar-maple  debauch,  sitting  there  by  his 
wells  hour  after  hour,  and  as  fast  as  they 
became  filled  sipping  out  the  sap.  This  he 


good  friends  of  the  trees  been  made  to  suf- 
fer for  the  sapsucker's  sins? 

5.  What  is  the  color  of  the  sapsucker: 
forehead,    sides   of  head,   back,   wings, 
throat,  upper  and  lower  breast?  What  is 
the  difference  in  color  between  the  male 
and  female? 

6.  In  what  part  of  the  country  do  the 
sapsuckers  build  their  nests?  Where  do 
they  make  their  nests  and  how? 


LESSON  16 
THE  SAPSUCKER 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  sapsucker 
has  a  red  cap,  a  red  bib,  and  a  yellow 
breast;  it  is  our  only  woodpecker  that  does 
injury  to  trees.  We  should  learn  to  distin- 
guish it  from  the  downy  and  hairy,  as  the 
latter  are  among  the  best  bird  friends  of 
the  trees. 

METHOD  —  Let  the  observations  begin 
with  the  study  of  the  trees  (common  al- 
most everywhere)  which  have  been  at- 
tacked by  the  sapsucker,  and  thus  lead 
to  an  interest  in  the  culprit. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Have  you  seen  the 
work  of  the  sapsucker?  Are  the  holes 
drilled  in  rows  completely  around  the 


did  in  a  gentle,  caressing  manner  that  was 
very  suggestive.  He  made  a  row  of  wells 
near  the  foot  of  the  tree,  and  other  rows 
higher  up,  and  he  would  hop  up  and  down 
the  trunk  as  they  became  filled.  —  "  WIN- 
TER NEIGHBORS/'  JOHN  BURROUGHS 


76 


ANIMALS 


THE  REDHEADED  WOODPECKER 


The  redhead  is  well  named,  for  his  hel- 
met and  visor  show  a  vivid  glowing  crim- 
son that  stirs  the  sensibilities  of  the  color 
lover.  It  is  readily  distinguished  from  the 
other  woodpeckers  because  its  entire  head 
and  bib  are  red.  For  the  rest,  it  is  a  beauti- 
ful dark  metallic  blue  with  the  lower  back, 
a  band  across  the  wing,  and  the  under  parts 
white;  its  outer  tail  feathers  are  tipped 
with  white.  The  female  is  colored  like  the 


L.  A.  Fuertes 

The  redheaded  woodpecker 

male,  but  the  young  have  the  head  and 
breast  gray,  streaked  with  black  and  white, 
and  the  wings  barred  with  black.  It  may 
make  its  nest  by  excavating  a  hole  in  a  tree 
or  a  stump  or  even  in  a  telegraph  pole;  the 
eggs  are  glossy  white.  This  woodpecker  is 
quite  different  in  habits  from  the  hairy 
and  downy,  as  it  likes  to  flit  along  from 
stump  to  fence  post  and  catch  insects  on 
the  wing,  like  a  flycatcher.  The  only  time 
that  it  pecks  wood  is  when  it  is  making  a 
hole  for  its  nest. 
As  a  drummer,  the  redhead  is  most 


adept  and  his  roll  is  a  long  one.  He  is  an 
adaptable  fellow,  and  if  there  is  no  reso- 
nant dead  limb  at  hand,  he  has  been 
known  to  drum  on  tin  roofs  and  lightning 
rods;  and  once  we  also  observed  him  exe- 
cuting a  most  brilliant  solo  on  the  wire 
of  a  barbed  fence.  He  is  especially  fond  of 
beechnuts  and  acorns,  and  being  a  thrifty 
fellow  as  well  as  musical,  in  time  of  plenty 
he  stores  up  food  against  time  of  need.  He 
places  his  nuts  in  crevices  and  forks  of  the 
branches  or  in  holes  in  trees  or  any  other 
hiding  place.  He  can  shell  a  beechnut 
quite  as  cleverly  as  can  the  deer  mouse; 
and  he  is  own  cousin  to  the  carpenter 
woodpecker  of  the  Pacific  Coast,  which 
is  also  redheaded  and  which  drills  holes 
in  the  oak  trees  wherein  he  drives  acorns 
like  pegs  for  later  use. 

SUGGESTED  READING  — Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  43;  Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fan- 
nie W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book 
3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  Nature  and  Science 
Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison 
E.  Howe,  Book  i,  Hunting;  also,  readings 
on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  17 
THE  REDHEADED  WOODPECKER 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  redheaded 
woodpecker  has  very  different  habits  from 
the  downy  and  is  not  so  useful  to  us.  It 
lives  upon  nuts  and  fruit  and  such  insects 
as  it  can  catch  upon  the  wing. 

METHOD  —  If  there  is  a  redhead  in  the 
vicinity  of  your  school  the  children  will  be 
sure  to  see  it.  Write  the  following  ques- 
tions upon  the  blackboard  and  offer  a 
prize  to  the  first  one  who  will  make  a  note 
on  where  the  redhead  stores  his  winter 
food. 

OBSERVATIONS— - 1.  Can  you  tell  the 
redhead  from  the  other  woodpeckers? 
What  colors  especially  mark  his  plum- 
age? 

2.  Where  does  the  redhead  nest?  De- 
scribe eggs  and  nest. 


BIRDS 

3.  What  have  you  observed  the  red- 
head eating?  Have  you  noticed  it  storing 
nuts  and  acorns  for  the  winter?  Have  you 
noticed  it  flying  off  with  cherries  or  other 
fruit? 

4.  What  is  the  note  of  the  redhead? 
Have   you    ever    seen    one   drumming? 
What  did  he  use  for  a  drum?  Did  he  come 
back  often  to  this  place  to  make  his  music? 


77 


Another  trait  our  woodpeckers  have 
that  endears  them  to  me,  and  that  has 
never  been  pointedly  noticed  by  our  orni- 
thologists, is  their  habit  of  drumming  in 
the  spring.  They  are  songless  birds,  and  yet 
all  are  musicians;  they  make  the  dry  limbs 
eloquent  of  the  coming  change.  Did  you 
think  that  loud,  sonorous  hammering 
which  proceeded  from  the  orchard  or 
from  the  near  woods  on  that  still  March  or 
April  morning  was  only  some  bird  getting 
its  breakfast?  It  is  downy,  but  he  is  not  rap- 
ping at  the  door  of  a  grub;  he  is  rapping  at 
the  door  of  spring,  and  the  dry  limb  thrills 
beneath  the  ardor  of  his  blows.  Or7  later  in 
the  season,  in  the  dense  forest  or  by  some 
remote  mountain  lake,  does  that  meas- 
ured rhythmic  beat  that  breaks  upon  the 
silence,  first  three  strokes  following  each 
other  rapidly,  succeeded  by  two  louder 
ones  with  longer  intervals  between  them, 
and  that  has  an  effect  upon  the  alert  ear 
as  if  the  solitude  itself  had  at  last  found  a 
voice  —  does  that  suggest  anything  less 
than  a  deliberate  musical  performance?  In 
fact,  our  woodpeckers  are  /ust  as  charac- 
teristically drummers  as  is  the  ruffed 


grouse,  and  they  have  their  particular 
limbs  and  stubs  to  which  they  resort  for 
that  purpose.  Their  need  of  expression  is 
apparently  just  as  great  as  that  of  the  song- 
birds, and  it  is  not  surprising  that  they 
should  have  found  out  that  there  is  music 
in  a  dry,  seasoned  limb  which  can  be 
evoked  beneath  their  beaks. 

The  woodpeckers  do  not  each  have  a 
particular  dry  limb  to  which  they  resort  at 
all  times  to  drum,  like  the  one  I  have  de- 
scribed. The  woods  are  fall  of  suitable 
branches,  and  they  drum  more  or  less  here 
and  there  as  they  are  in  quest  of  food;  yet  I 
am  convinced  each  one  has  its  favorite 
spot,  like  the  grouse,  to  which  it  resorts,  es- 
pecially in  the  morning.  The  sugar-maker 
in  the  maple  woods  may  notice  that  this 
sound  proceeds  from  the  same  tree  or  trees 
about  his  camp  with  great  regularity.  A 
woodpecker  in  my  vicinity  has  drummed 
for  two  seasons  on  a  telegraph-pole?  and 
he  makes  the  wires  and  glass  insulators 
ring.  Another  drums  on  a  thin  board  on 
the  end  of  a  long  grape-arbor,  and  on  still' 
mornings  can  be  heard  a  long  distance. 

A  friend  of  mine  in  a  Southern  city  tells 
me  of  a  redheaded  woodpecker  that 
drums  upon  a  lightning-rod  on  his  neigh- 
bor's house.  Nearly  every  clear,  still  morn- 
ing at  certain  seasons,  he  says,  this  musical 
rapping  may  be  heard.  "  He  alternates  his 
tapping  with  his  stridulous  call,  and  the 
effect  on  a  cool,  autumn-like  morning  is 
very  pleasing."  —  "  BIRDS,  BEES  AND  SHARP 
EYES/'  JOHN  BURROUGHS 


THE  FLICKER  OR  YELLOW-HAMMER 


The  first  time  I  ever  saw  a  flicker  I  said, 
"  What  a  wonderful  meadowlark  and 
what  is  it  doing  on  that  ant  hill?  "  But  an- 
other glance  revealed  to  me  a  red  spot  on 
the  back  of  the  bird's  neck,  and  as  soon 
as  I  was  sure  that  it  was  not  a  bloody  gash, 
I  knew  that  it  marked  no  meadowlark. 
The  top  of  the  flicker's  head  and  its  back 
are  slaty-gray,  which  is  much  enlivened  by 
a  bright  red  band  across  the  nape  of  the 


neck.  The  tail  is  black  above  and  yellow 
tipped  with  black  below;  the  wings  are 
black,  but  have  a  beautiful  luminous  yel- 
low beneath,  which  is  very  noticeable  dur- 
ing flight.  There  is  a  locket  adorning  the 
breast;  it  is  a  thin,  black  crescent,  much 
narrower  than  that  of  the  meadowlark. 
Below  the  locket,  the  breast  is  yellowish 
white  thickly  marked  with  circular,  black 
spots.  The  throat  and  sides  of  the  head 


ANIMALS 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

A  brood  of  seven  young  flickers 

are  pinkish  brown,  and  the  male  has  a 
black  mustache  extending  backward  from 
the  beak  with  a  very  fashionable  droop. 
Naturally  enough  the  female,  although 
she  resembles  her  spouse,  lacks  his  mus- 
tache. The  beak  is  long,  strong,  somewhat 
curved  and  dark  colored.  This  bird  is  dis- 
tinctly larger  than  the  robin.  The  white 
patch  on  the  rump  shows  little  or  not  at 
all  when  the  bird  is  at  rest.  This  white 
mark  is  known  as  a  "  color  call  "  —  for  it 
has  been  said  that  it  serves  as  a  rear  signal 
by  means  of  which  the  flock  of  migrating 
birds  are  able  to  keep  together  in  the 
night.  The  yellow-hammer's  flight  is  wave- 
like  and  jerky  —  quite  different  from  that 
of  the  meadowlark;  it  does  not  stay  so 
constantly  in  the  meadows,  but  often  fre- 
quents woods  and  orchards. 

The  flicker  has  many  names,  such  as 
golden-winged  woodpecker,  yellow-ham- 
mer, highhole,  yarup,  wake-up,  clape,  and 
many  others.  It  earned  the  name  of  high- 
hole  because  of  its  habit  of  excavating  its 
nest  high  up  in  trees,  usually  between  ten 
and  twenty-five  feet  from  the  ground.  It 
especially  loves  an  old  apple  tree  as  a  site 
for  a  nest,  and  most  of  our  large  old  or- 
chards can  boast  of  a  pair  of  these  hand- 
some birds  during  the  nesting  season  of 
May  and  June.  The  flicker  is  not  above 


renting  any  house  he  finds  vacant,  exca- 
vated by  some  other  birds  last  year.  He 
earned  his  name  of  yarup  or  wake-up  from 
his  spring  song,  which  is  a  rollicking,  jolly 
"  wick-a,  wick-a,  wick-a-wick  "  —  a  song 
commonly  heard  the  last  of  March  or  early 
April.  The  chief  insect  food  of  the  flicker 
is  ants,  although  it  also  eats  beetles,  flies, 
and  wild  fruit;  it  does  little  or  no  damage 
to  planted  crops.  Its  tongue  has  become 
modified,  like  that  of  the  anteater;  it  is 
long  and  is  covered  with  a  sticky  sub- 
stance; and  when  it  is  thrust  into  an  ant 
hill,  all  of  the  little  citizens,  disturbed  in 
their  communal  labors,  at  once  bravely 
attack  the  intruder  and  become  glued  fast 
to  it;  they  are  thus  withdrawn  and  trans- 
ferred to  the  capacious  stomach  of  the 
bird.  It  has  been  known  to  eat  three  thou- 
sand ants  at  a  single  meal. 

Those  who  have  observed  the  flicker 
during  the  courting  season  declare  him 
to  be  the  most  silly  and  vain  of  all  bird 
wooers.  Mr.  Baskett  says:  "When  he 
wishes  to  charm  his  sweetheart  he  mounts 
a  small  twig  near  her,  and  lifts  his  wings, 
spreads  his  tail,  and  begins  to  nod  right 
and  left  as  he  exhibits  his  mustache  to  his 
charmer.  He  sets  his  jet  locket  first  on  one 
side  of  the  twig  and  then  on  the  other. 
He  may  even  go  so  far  as  to  turn  his  head 
half  around  to  show  her  the  pretty  spot 


A.  A.  Allen 

The  male  'flicker  has  a  black  mustache 


BIRDS 


on  his  back  hair.  In  doing  all  this  he  per- 
forms the  most  ludicrous  antics  and  has 
the  silliest  expression  of  face  and  voice  as 
if  in  losing  his  heart,  as  some  one  phrases 
it,  he  had  lost  his  head  also." 

The  nest  hole  is  quite  deep  and  the 
white  eggs  are  from  four  to  ten  in  num- 
ber. The  feeding  of  the  young  flickers  is  a 
process  painful  to  watch.  The  parent  takes 
the  food  into  its  own  stomach  and  par- 
tially digests  it,  then  thrusts  its  own  bill 
down  the  throat  of  the  young  one  and 
pumps  the  soft  food  into  it  "kerchug, 
kerchug,"  until  it  seems  as  if  the 
young  one  must  be  shaken  to  its  foun- 
dations. The  young  flickers  as  soon  as 
they  leave  the  nest  climb  around  freely 
on  the  home  tree  in  a  delightful,  playful 
manner. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  5;  Bird  Stories  from  Bur- 
roughs, by  John  Burroughs;  First  Lessons 
in  Nature  Study,  by  Edith  M.  Patch;  Na- 
ture and  Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch  and  Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  5, 
Science  at  Home;  also,  readings  on  pages 
28-29. 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

The  female  flicker 


Stanley  Mythaler 

The  homes  of  flickers 

LESSON  18 
THE  FLICKER 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  flicker  is  a 
true  woodpecker  but  has  changed  its  hab- 
its and  spends  much  of  its  time  in  mead- 
ows hunting  for  ants  and  other  insects; 
it  makes  its  nest  in  trunks  of  trees,  like 
its  relatives.  It  can  be  distinguished  from 
the  meadowlark  by  the  white  patch  above 
the  tail  which  shows  during  flight. 

METHOD  —  This  is  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant of  the  birds  of  the  meadow.  The 
work  may  be  done  in  September,  when 
there  are  plenty  of  young  flickers  which 
have  not  learned  to  be  wary.  The  observa- 
tions may  be  made  in  the  field,  a  few  ques- 
tions being  given  at  a  time. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  do  you 
find  the  flicker  in  the  summer  and  early 
autumn?  How  can  you  tell  it  from  the 
meadowlark  in  color  and  in  flight? 

2.  What  is  it  doing  in  the  meadows? 
How  does  it  manage  to  trap  ants? 

3.  What  is  the  size  of  the  flicker  as  com- 
pared to  the  robin?  What  is  its  general 
color  as  compared  to  the  meadowlark? 

4.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  flicker  as 
follows:  top  and  sides  of  the  head,  back 
of  the  neck,  lower  back,  tail,  wings,  throat, 
and  breast.  Describe  the  color  and  shape  of 
the  beak.  Is  there  a  difference  in  markings 
between  the  males  and  females? 


8o 


ANIMALS 


5.  Does  the  patch  of  white  above  the 
tail  show,  except  when  the  bird  is  flying? 
Of  what  use  is  this  to  the  bird? 

6.  What  is  the  flicker's  note?  At  what 
time  of  spring  do  you  hear  it  first? 

7.  Where  does  the  flicker  build  its  nest 
and  how?  What  is  the  color  of  the  eggs? 
How  many  are  there? 

8.  How  does  it  feed  its  young?  How  do 
the  young  flickers  act? 

9.  How  many  names  do  you  know  for 
the  flicker? 

The  high-hole  appears  to  drum  more 
promiscuously  than  does  the  downy.  He 
utters  his  long,  loud  spring  call,  whick- 


whick-whick,  and  then  begins  to  rap  with 
his  beak  upon  his  perch  before  the  last 
note  has  reached  your  ear.  I  have  seen  him 
drum  sitting  upon  the  ridge  of  the  barn. 
The  log-code,  or  pileated  woodpecker,  the 
largest  and  wildest  of  our  Northern  spe- 
cies, I  have  never  heard  drum.  His  blows 
should  wake  the  echoes. 

When  the  woodpecker  is  searching  for 
food,  or  laying  siege  to  some  hidden  grub, 
the  sound  of  his  hammering  is  dead  or 
muffled,  and  is  heard  but  a  few  yards.  It  is 
only  upon  dry,  seasoned  timber,  freed  of 
its  bark,  that  he  beats  his  reveille  to  spring 
and  woos  his  mate.  —  "  BIRDS,  BEES  AND 
SHARP  EYES,"  JOHN  BURROUGHS 


THE  MEADOWLARK 


The  meadowlark 


L.  A.  Fuertes 


The  first  intimation  we  have  in  early 
spring  that  the  meadowlark  is  again  with 
us  comes  to  us  through  his  soft,  sweet, 
sad  note  which  Van  Dyke  describes  so 
graphically  when  he  says  it  "  leaks  slowly 
upward  from  the  ground."  One  wonders 
how  a  bird  can  express  happiness  in  these 
melancholy,  sweet,  slurred  notes,  and  yet 
undoubtedly  it  is  a  song  expressing  joy, 


the  joy  of  returning  home,  the  happiness 
of  love  and  of  nest  building. 

The  meadowlark,  as  is  indicated  by  its 
name,  is  a  bird  of  the  meadow.  It  is  often 
confused  with  another  bird  of  the  meadow 
which  has  very  different  habits,  the  flicker. 
The  two  are  approximately  of  the  same 
size  and  color  and  each  has  a  black  cres- 
cent or  locket  on  the  breast  and  each 
shows  the  "  white  feather "  during  flight. 
The  latter  is  the  chief  distinguishing  char- 
acteristic; the  outer  tail  feathers  of  the 
meadowlark  are  white,  while  the  tail  feath- 
ers of  the  flicker  are  not  white  at  all,  but  it 
has  a  single  patch  of  white  on  the  rump. 
The  flight  of  the  two  is  quite  different. 
The  lark  lifts  itself  by  several  sharp  move- 
ments and  then  soars  smoothly  over  the 
course,  while  the  flicker  makes  a  continu- 
ous up-and-down,  wavelike  flight.  The 
songs  of  the  two  would  surely  never  be 
confused,  for  the  meadowlark  is  among 
our  sweetest  singers,  to  which  class  the 
flicker  with  his  "  flick-a-flick  "  hardly  be- 
longs. 

The  colors  of  the  meadowlark  are  most 
harmonious  shades  of  brown  and  yellow, 
well  set  off  by  the  black  locket  on  its 
breast.  Its  wings  are  light  brown,  each 
feather  being  streaked  with  black  and 
brown;  the  line  above  the  eye  is  yellow, 
bordered  with  black  above  and  below;  a 


BIRDS 


81 


buff  line  extends  from  the  beak  backward 
over  the  crown.  The  wings  are  light  brown 
and  have  a  mere  suggestion  of  white  bars; 
portions  of  the  outer  feathers  on  each  side 
of  the  tail  are  white,  but  this  white  does 
not  show  except  during  flight.  The  sides 
of  the  throat  are  greenish,  the  middle  part 
and  breast  are  lemon-yellow,  with  the 
large,  black  crescent  just  below  the  throat. 
The  beak  is  long,  strong,  and  black,  and 
the  meadowlark  is  decidedly  a  low-browed 
bird,  the  forehead  being  only  slightly 
higher  than  the  upper  part  of  the  beak.  It 
is  a  little  larger  than  the  robin,  which  it 
rivals  in  plumpness. 

The  meadowlark  has  a  particular  liking 
for  meadows  which  border  streams.  It 
sings  when  on  the  ground,  on  the  bush 
or  fence  and  while  on  the  wing;  and  it 
sings  during  the  entire  period  of  its  north- 
ern stay,  from  April  to  November,  ex- 
cept while  it  is  moulting  in  late  summer, 
Mr.  Mathews,  who  is  an  eminent  author- 
ity on  bird  songs,  says  that  the  meadow- 
larks  of  New  York  have  a  different  song 
from  those  of  Vermont  or  Nantucket,  al- 
though the  music  has  always  the  same 
general  characteristics.  The  western  spe- 
cies has  a  longer  and  more  complex  song 
than  ours  of  the  East.  It  is  one  of  the  few 
California  birds  that  is  a  genuine  joy  to 
the  eastern  visitor;  during  February  and 
March  its  heavenly  music  is  as  pervasive 
as  the  California  sunshine. 


The  meadowlark's  arched  nest 


R.  W.  Hegner 

A  father  prairie  horned  lark  at  his  nest. 
These  birds  nest  in  early  March,  and  often 
snow  falls  on  the  nest  and  brooding  bird 

The  nest  is  built  in  a  depression  in  the 
ground  near  a  tuft  of  grass;  it  is  con- 
structed of  coarse  grass  and  sticks  and  is 
lined  with  finer  grass;  there  is  usually  a 
dome  of  grass  blades  woven  above  the 
nest;  and  often  a  long,  covered  vestibule 
leading  to  the  nest  is  made  in  a  similar 
fashion.  This  is  evidently  for  protection 
from  the  keen  eyes  of  hawks  and  crows. 
The  eggs  are  laid  about  the  last  of  May 
and  are  usually  from  five  to  seven  in  num- 
ber; they  are  white,  speckled  with  brown 
and  purple.  The  young  meadowlarks  are 
usually  large  enough  to  be  out  of  the  way 
before  haying  time  in  July. 

The  food  of  the  meadowlark  during  the 
entire  year  consists  almost  exclusively  of 
insects  which  destroy  the  grass  of  our 
meadows.  It  eats  great  quantities  of  grass- 
hoppers, cutworms,  chinch  bugs,  army 
worms,  wireworms,  and  weevils,  and  also 
destroys  some  weed  seeds.  Each  pupil 
should  make  a  diagram  in  his  notebook 
showing  the  proportions  of  the  meadow- 
lark's  different  kinds  of  food.  This  may  be 
copied  from  Audubon  Leaflet  3.  Everyone 
should  use  his  influence  to  the  uttermost 
to  protect  this  valuable  bird.  It  has  been 
estimated  that  the  meadowlarks  save  to 
every  township  where  hay  is  produced, 
twenty-five  dollars  each  year  on  this  crop 
alone. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflets  3  and  111;  Holiday  Meadow,  by 
Edith  M.  Patch;  also,  readings  on  pages 
28-29. 


82 


ANIMALS 


LESSON  19 

THE  MEADOWLARK 


LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  meadowlark 
is  of  great  value  in  delivering  the  grass  of 
our  meadows  from  insect  destroyers.  It  has 
a  song  which  we  all  know;  it  can  be  iden- 
tified by  color  as  a  large,  light  brown  bird 
with  white  feathers  on  each  side  of  the 
tail,  and  in  flight  by  its  quick  up-and- 
down  movements  finishing  with  long,  low, 
smooth  sailing. 

METHOD  —  September  and  October  are 
good  months  for  observations  on  the 
flight,  song,  and  appearance  of  the  mead- 
owlark,  and  also  for  learning  how  to  dis- 
tinguish it  from  the  flicker.  The  notes 
must  be  made  by  the  pupils  in  the  field, 
and  after  they  know  the  bird  and  its  song 
let  them,  if  they  have  opportunity,  study 
the  bird  books  and  bulletins,  and  prepare 
written  accounts  of  the  way  the  meadow- 
lark  builds  its  nest  and  of  its  economic 
value. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  have  you 
seen  the  meadowlark?  Did  you  ever  see  it 
in  the  woods?  Describe  its  flight.  How  can 
you  identify  it  by  color  when  it  is  flying? 
How  do  its  white  patches  and  its  flight  dif- 
fer from  those  of  the  flicker? 

2.  Try  to   imitate   the   meadowlarFs 
notes  by  song  or  whistle.  Does  it  sing 
while  on  the  ground,  or  on  a  bush  or  fence, 
or  during  flight? 

3.  Note  the  day  when  you  hear  its  last 
song  in  the  fall  and  also  its  first  song  in  the 
spring.  Does  it  sing  during  August  and 
September?  Why?  Where  does  it  spend 
the  winter?  On  what  does  it  feed  while  in 
the  South? 


4.  Is  the  meadowlark  larger  or  smaller 
than  the  robin?  Describe  from  your  own 
observations,  as  far  as  possible,  the  colors 
of  the  meadowlark  as  follows:  top  of  head, 
line   above   the   eye,   back,   wings,   tail, 
throat,  breast,  locket,  color  and  shape  of 
beak.  Make  a  sketch  of  your  own  or  a 
copy  from  Louis  Fuertes7  excellent  picture 
of  the  meadowlark  in  the  Audubon  Leaf- 
let, and  color  it  accurately. 

5.  When  is  the  nest  built;  where  is  it 
placed;  of  what  material  is  it  built?  How  is 
it  protected  from  sight  from  above?  Why 
this  protection?  How  many  eggs  are  there 
in  the  nest?  What  are  their  colors  and 
markings? 

6.  What  is  the  food  of  the  meadow- 
lark?  Copy  the  diagram  from  the  Audu- 
bon Leaflet,  showing  the  proportions  of 
the  different  kinds  of  insects  which  it  de- 
stroys. 

Sweet,  sweet,  sweet/  O  happy  that  I  am! 
(Listen  to  the  meadow-larks,  across  the 

fields  that  sing/) 
Sweet,  sweet,  sweet/  O  subtle  breath  of 

balm, 

O  winds  that  blow,  O  buds  that  grow, 
O  rapture  of  the  spring/ 

Sweet,  sweet,  sweet/  O  happy  world  that 

is/    ' 
Dear  heart,  I  hear  across  the  fields  my 

mateling  pipe  and  call 
Sweet,  sweet,  sweet/  O  world  so  full  of 

bliss, 

For  life  is  love,  the  world  is  love,  and 
love  is  overall/ 

—  INA  COOLBRITH 


BIRDS 


English  sparrows  at  a  feeding  station 


S.  A.  Grimes 


THE  ENGLISH  SPARROW 

So  dainty  in  plumage  and  hue, 

A  study  in  grey  and  in  brown? 
How  little,  how  little  we  knew 

The  pest  he  would  prove  to  the  town/ 
From  dawn  until  daylight  grows  dim. 

Perpetual  chatter  and  scold. 
No  winter  migration  for  him, 

Not  even  afraid  of  the  cold/ 
Scarce  a  song-bird  he  fails  to  molest, 

Belligerent,  meddlesome  thing/ 
Wherever  he  goes  as  a  guest 

He  is  sure  to  remain  as  a  King. 

—  MARY  ISABELLA  FORSYTH 


The  English  sparrow,  like  the  poor  and 
the  housefly,  is  always  with  us;  and  since 
he  is  here  to  stay,  let  us  make  him  useful 
if  we  can  devise  any  means  of  doing  so. 
There  is  no  bird  that  gives  the  pupils  a 
more  difficult  exercise  in  describing  colors 
and  markings  than  does  he;  and  his  wife 
is  almost  equally  difficult.  I  have  known 
fairly  skilled  ornithologists  to  be  misled 
by  some  variation  in  color  of  the  hen  spar- 
row, and  it  is  safe  to  assert  that  the  ma- 
jority of  people  "  do  not  know  her  from 
Adam/'  The  male  has  the  top  of  the  head 
gray  with  a  patch  of  reddish  brown  on 
either  side;  the  middle  of  the  throat  and 


upper  breast  is  black;  the  sides  of  the 
throat  white;  the  lower  breast  and  under 
parts  grayish  white;  the  back  is  brown 
streaked  with  black;  the  tail  is  brown, 
rather  short,  and  not  notched  at  the  tip; 
the  wings  are  brown  with  two  white  bars 
and  a  jaunty  dash  of  reddish  brown.  The 
female  has  the  head  grayish  brown,  the 
breast,  throat,  and  under  parts  grayish 
white;  the  back  is  brown  streaked  with 
black  and  dirty  yellow,  and  she  is,  on  the 
whole,  a  "  washed  out "  looking  lady  bird. 
The  differences  in  color  and  size  between 
the  English  sparrow  and  the  chippy  are 
quite  noticeable,  as  the  chippy  is  an  inch 


84  ANIMALS 

shorter  and  far  more  slender  in  appear- 
ance, and  is  especially  marked  by  the  red- 
dish brown  crown. 

When  feeding,  the  English  sparrows 
are  aggressive,  and  their  lack  of  table  man- 
ners make  them  the  "  goops  "  among  all 
birds;  in  the  winter  they  settle  in  noisy 
flocks  on  the  street  to  pick  up  the  grain 
undigested  by  the  horses,  or  in  barnyards 
where  the  grain  has  been  scattered  by  the 
farm  animals.  They  only  eat  weed  seeds 
when  other  food  fails  them  in  the  winter, 
for  they  are  civilized  birds  even  if  they  do 
not  act  so,  and  they  much  prefer  the  culti- 
vated grains.  It  is  only  during  the  nesting 
season  that  they  destroy  insects  to  any 
extent;  over  one-half  the  food  of  nestlings 
is  insects,  such  as  weevils,  grasshoppers, 
cutworms,  etc.;  but  this  good  work  is 
largely  offset  by  the  fact  that  these  same 
nestlings  will  soon  give  their  grown-up 
energies  to  attacking  grain  fields,  taking 
the  seed  after  sowing,  later  the  new  grain 
in  the  milk,  and  later  still  the  ripened 
grain  in  the  sheaf.  Wheat,  oats,  rye,  bar- 
ley, corn,  sorghum,  and  rice  are  thus  at- 
tacked. Once  I  saw  on  the  upper  Nile  a 
native  boat  loaded  with  millet  which  was 
attacked  by  thousands  of  sparrows;  when 
driven  off  by  the  sailors  they  would  perch 
on  the  rigging  like  flies,  and  as  soon  as  the 
men  turned  their  backs  they  would  drop 
like  bullets  to  the  deck  and  gobble  the 
grain  before  they  were  again  driven  off. 
English  sparrows  also  destroy  for  us  the 
buds  and  blossoms  of  fruit  trees  and  often 
attack  the  ripening  fruit. 

The  introduction  of  the  English  spar- 
row into  America  is  one  of  the  greatest  ar- 
guments possible  in  favor  of  nature-study; 
for  ignorance  of  nature-study  methods  in 
this  single  instance  costs  the  United 
States  millions  of  dollars  every  year.  The 
English  sparrow  is  the  European  house 
sparrow,  and  people  had  a  theory  that  it 
was  an  insect  eater,  but  never  took  the 
pains  to  ascertain  if  this  theory  were  a  fact. 
About  1850,  some  people  with  more  zeal 
than  wisdom  introduced  these  birds  into 
New  York,  and  for  twenty  years  after- 
wards there  were  other  importations  of 
the  sparrows.  In  twenty  years  more,  peo- 


ple discovered  that  they  had  taken  great 
pains  to  establish  in  our  country  one  of  the 
worst  nuisances  in  all  Europe.  In  addition 
to  all  the  direct  damage  which  the  English 
sparrows  do,  they  are  so  quarrelsome  that 
they  have  driven  away  many  of  our  native 
beneficial  birds  from  our  premises,  and 
now  vociferously  acclaim  their  presence  in 
places  which  were  once  the  haunts  of  birds 
with  sweet  songs.  After  they  drive  off  the 
other  birds  they  quarrel  among  them- 
selves, and  there  is  no  rest  for  tired  ears  in 
their  vicinity.  There  are  various  noises 
made  by  these  birds  which  we  can  under- 
stand if  we  are  willing  to  take  the  pains: 
the  harassing  chirping  is  their  song;  they 
squall  when  frightened  and  peep  plain- 
tively when  lonesome,  and  make  a  dis- 
agreeable racket  when  fighting. 

But  to  "give  the  devil  his  due"  we 
must  admit  that  the  house  sparrow  is  as 
clever  as  it  is  obnoxious,  and  its  success  is 
doubtless  partly  due  to  its  superior  clever- 
ness and  keenness.  It  is  quick  to  take  a 
hint,  if  sufficiently  pointed;  firing  a  shot- 
gun twice  into  a  flock  of  these  birds  has 
driven  them  from  our  premises;  and  tear- 
ing down  their  nests  assiduously  for  a 
month  seems  to  convey  to  them  the  idea 
that  they  are  not  welcome.  Another  in- 
stance of  their  cleverness  I  witnessed  one 
day:  I  was  watching  a  robin,  worn  and 
nervous  with  her  second  brood,  fervently 
hunting  earthworms  in  the  lawn  to  fill  the 
gaping  mouths  in  the  nest  in  the  Virginia 
creeper  shading  the  piazza.  She  finally 
pulled  up  a  large,  pink  worm,  and  a  hen 
sparrow  flew  at  her  viciously;  the  robin 
dropped  the  worm  to  protect  herself,  and 
the  sparrow  snatched  it  and  carried  it  off 
triumphantly  to  the  grape  arbor  where 
she  had  a  nest  of  her  own  full  of  gaping 
mouths.  She  soon  carne  back,  and  at  a 
safe  distance  watched  the  robin  pull  out 
another  worm,  and  by  the  same  tactics 
again  gained  the  squirming  prize.  Three 
times  was  this  repeated  in  an  hour,  and 
then  the  robin,  discouraged,  flew  up  into 
a  Norway  spruce  and  in  a  monologue  of 
sullen  duckings  tried  to  reason  out  what 
had  happened. 

The  English  sparrow's  nest  is  quite  in 


BIRDS 


keeping  with  the  bird's  other  qualities;  it 
is  usually  built  in  a  hole  or  box  or  in  some 
protected  corner  beneath  the  eaves;  it  is 
also  often  built  in  vines  on  buildings  and 
occasionally  in  trees.  It  is  a  good  example 
of  "  fuss  and  feathers  ";  coarse  straw,  or 
any  other  kind  of  material,  and  feathers  of 
hens  or  of  other  birds,  mixed  together 
without  fashion  or  form,  constitute  the 
nest.  In  these  sprawling  nests  the  whitish, 
brown  or  gray-flecked  eggs  are  laid  and 
the  young  reared;  several  broods  are  reared 
by  one  pair  in  a  season.  The  nesting  begins 
almost  as  soon  as  the  snow  is  off  the 
ground  and  lasts  until  late  fall. 

During  the  winter,  the  sparrows  gather 
in  flocks  in  villages  and  cities,  but  in  the 
spring  they  scatter  out  through  the  coun- 
try where  they  can  find  more  grain.  The 
only  place  where  this  bird  is  welcome  is 
possibly  in  the  heart  of  a  great  city,  where 
no  other  bird  could  pick  up  a  livelihood. 
It  is  a  true  cosmopolite  and  is  the  first  bird 
to  greet  the  traveler  in  Europe  or  northern 
Africa.  These  sparrows  will  not  build  in 
boxes  suspended  by  a  wire;  and  they  do 
not  like  a  box  where  there  is  no  resting 
place  in  front  of  the  door  leading  to  the 
nest. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  90;  Bird  Friends,  by  Gilbert 
H.  Trafton;  English  Sparrow  Control 
(U.  S.  Department  of  Agriculture,  Leaflet 
61);  Lives  of  the  Hunted,  by  Ernest 
Thompson  Seton  (A  Street  Troubadour); 
Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fannie  W. 
Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book  3,  In 
Field  and  Forest;  see  also  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 

LESSON  20 
THE  ENGLISH  SPARROW 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  English  spar- 
row was  introduced  into  America  by  peo- 
ple who  knew  nothing  of  its  habits.  It  has 
finally  overrun  our  whole  country,  and  to 
a  great  extent  has  driven  out  from  towns 
and  villages  our  useful  American  song 
birds;  it  should  be  discouraged  and  not 
allowed  to  nest  around  our  houses  and 


A.  A.  Allen 

The  sprawling  nest  of  the  English  sparrow 

grounds.  As  a  sparrow  it  has  interesting 
habits  which  we  should  observe. 

METHOD —  Let  the  pupils  make  their 
observations  in  the  street  or  wherever  they 
find  the  birds.  The  greatest  value  of  this 
lesson  is  to  teach  the  pupils  to  observe  the 
coloring  and  markings  of  a  bird  accurately 
and  describe  them  clearly.  This  is  the  best 
of  training  for  later  work  with  the  wild 
birds. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  How  many  kinds  of 
birds  do  you  find  in  a  flock  of  English  spar- 
rows? 

2.  The  ones  with  the  black  cravat  are 
naturally  the  men  of  the  family,  while 
their  sisters,  wives,  and  mothers  are  less 
ornamented.  Describe  in  your  notebook 
or  from  memory  the  colors  of  the  cock 
sparrow  as  follows:  top  of  head,  sides  of 
the  head,  the  back,  the  tail,  the  wings, 
wing  bars,  throat  and  upper  breast,  lower 
breast  and  under  parts. 

3 .  Describe  the  hen  sparrow  in  the  same 
manner  and  note  the  difference  in  mark- 
ings between  the  two.  Are  the  young  birds, 
when  they  first  fly,  like  the  father  or  the 
mother? 

4.  Compare  the  English  sparrow  with 
the  chippy  and  describe  the  differences 
in  size  and  color. 

5.  Is  the  tail  when  the  bird  is  not  flying 
square  across  the  end  or  notched? 


86 


ANIMALS 


6.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  beak?  For 
what  sort  of  food  is  it  adapted? 

7.  What  is  the  food  of  the  English 
sparrows  and  where  do  they  find  it?  De- 
scribe the  actions  of  a  flock  feeding  in  the 
yard  or  street.  Are  the  English  sparrows 
kindly  or  quarrelsome  in  disposition? 

8.  Why  do  the  English  sparrows  stay 
in  the  North  during  the  coldest  of  win- 
ters? Do  they  winter  out  in  the  country  or 
in  villages? 

9.  Describe  by  observation  how  they 
try  to  drive  away  robins  or  other  native 
birds. 

10.  Describe  the  nest  of  this  sparrow. 
Of  what  material  is  it  made?  How  is  it  sup- 
ported? How  sheltered?  Is  it  a  well-built 
nest? 

11.  Describe    the    eggs.    How    many 


broods  are  raised  a  year?  What  kind  of 
food  do  the  parents  generally  give  the 
nestlings? 

12.  If  you  have  ever  seen  these  sparrows 
do  anything  interesting,  describe  the  cir- 
cumstance. 

13.  In  what  ways  are  these  birds  a  nui- 
sance to  us? 

14.  How  much  of  English  sparrow  talk 
do  you  understand? 

15.  How  can  we  build  bird-boxes  so 
that  the  English  sparrows  will  not  try  to 
take  possession  of  them? 

Do  not  tire  the  child  with  questions; 
lead  him  to  question  you,  instead.  Be  sure, 
in  any  case,  that  he  is  more  interested  in 
the  subject  than  in  the  questions  about 
the  subject. 


THE  CHIPPING  SPARROW 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  chipping  sparrow  on  its  nest    , 

This  midget  lives  in  our  midst,  and  yet 
among  all  bird  kind  there  is  not  another 
which  so  ignores  us  as  does  the  chippy. 
It  builds  its  nest  about  our  houses,  it 
hunts  for  food  all  over  our  premises,  it 
sings  like  a  tuneful  grasshopper  in  our 
ears,  it  brings  up  its  young  to  disregard 


us,  and  every  hour  of  the  day  it  "  tsip- 
tsips "  us  to  scorn.  And,  although  it  has 
well  earned  the  name  of  "  doorstep  spar- 
row/' since  it  frugally  gathers  the  crumbs 
about  our  kitchen  doors,  yet  it  rarely  be- 
comes tame  or  can  be  induced  to  eat 
from  the  hand,  unless  it  is  trained  so  to 
do  as  a  nestling. 

Its  cinnamon-brown  cap  and  tiny  black 
forehead,  the  gray  streak  over  the  eye  and 
the  black  through  it,  the  gray  cheeks  and 
the  pale  gray,  unspotted  breast  distinguish 
it  from  the  other  sparrows,  although  its 
brown  back  streaked  with  darker  coloi, 
and  brown  wings  and  blackish  tail,  have  a 
very  sparrowish  look;  the  two  whitish  wing 
bars  are  not  striking;  it  has  a  bill  fitted  for 
shelling  seeds,  a  characteristic  of  all  the 
sparrows.  Despite  its  seed-eating  bill,  the 
chippy's  food  is  about  one-third  insects, 
and  everyone  should  know  that  this  little 
bird  does  good  to  our  gardens  and  trees. 
It  takes  in  large  numbers  cabbage  cater- 
pillars, pea  lice,  the  beet  leaf-miners,  leaf 
hoppers,  grasshoppers,  and  cutworms,  and 
does  its  share  in  annihilating  the  cater- 
pillars of  the  terrible  gypsy  and  browntail 
moths.  In  fact,  it  works  for  our  benefit 
even  in  its  vegetable  food,  as  this  consists 


BIRDS 


87 


largely  of  the  seeds  of  weeds  and  unde- 
sirable grasses.  It  will  often  fly  up  from 
its  perch  after  flies  or  moths/ like  a  fly- 
catcher; and  the  next  time  we  note  it,  it 
will  be  hopping  around  hunting  for  the 
crumbs  we  have  scattered  for  it  on  the 
porch  floor.  The  song  of  the  chippy  is 
more  interesting  to  it  than  to  us;  it  is  a 
continuous  performance  of  high?  shrill, 
rapid  notes,  all  alike  so  far  as  I  can  detect; 
when  it  utters  many  of  these  in  rapid  suc- 
cession it  is  singing,  but  when  it  gives 
them  singly  they  are  call  notes  or  mere 
conversation. 

One  peculiarity  of  the  nest  has  given 
this  sparrow  the  common  name  of  hair- 
bird,  for  the  lining  is  almost  always  of 
long,  coarse  hair,  usually  treasure  trove 
from  the  tails  of  horses  or  cattle,  switched 
off  against  boards,  burs,  or  other  obstacles. 
Of  the  many  nests  I  have  examined,  black 
horsehair  was  the  usual  lining;  but  two 
nests  in  our  yard  show  the  chippy  to  be 
a  resourceful  bird;  evidently  the  hair  mar- 
ket was  exhausted  and  the  soft,  dead 
needles  of  the  white  pine  were  used  in- 
stead and  made  a  most  satisfactory  lining. 
The  nest  is  tiny  and  shallow;  the  outside 
is  of  fine  grass  or  rootlets  carefully  but 
not  closely  woven  together;  it  is  placed 


A.  A.  Allen 


A  cowbird  laid  the  large  egg  in  Ihis  chip- 
ping sparrow's  nest.  The  cowbird  depends 
upon  other  birds  to  brood  its  eggs  and  care 
for  its  young 


A.  A.  Allen 

"  The  breadline!'  Young  chipping  sparrows 
being  fed  by  one  of  their  parents 

in  vine  or  tree,  usually  not  more  than 
ten  or  fifteen  feet  from  the  ground;  a 
vine  on  a  house  is  a  favorite  nesting  site. 
Once  a  bold  pair  built  directly  above  the 
entrance  to  our  front  door  and  mingled 
cheerfully  with  other  visitors.  Usually, 
however,  the  nest  is  so  hidden  that  it 
is  not  discovered  until  after  the  leaves 
have  fallen.  The  eggs  are  light  blue  tinged 
with  green,  with  fine,  purplish  brown 
specks  or  markings  scrawled  about  the 
larger  end. 

The  chippy  comes  to  us  in  early  spring 
and  usually  raises  two  broods  of  from 
three  to  five  "  piggish  "  youngsters,  which 
even  after  they  are  fully  grown  follow 
pertinaciously  their  tired  and  "  frazzled 
out "  parents  and  beg  to  be  fed;  the  chippy 
parents  evidently  have  no  idea  of  disci- 
pline but  indulge  their  teasing  progeny 
until  our  patience,  at  least,  is  exhausted. 
The  young  differ  from  the  parents  in  hav- 
ing streaked  breasts  and  lacking  the  red- 
dish crown.  In  the  fall  the  chippy  par- 
ents lose  their  red-brown  caps  and  have 
streaked  ones  instead;  and  then  they  fare 
forth  in  flocks  for  a  seed-harvest  in  the 
fields.  Thereafter  our  chippy  is  a  stranger 
to  us;  we  do  not  know  it  in  its  new  garb, 
and  it  dodges  into  the  bushes  as  we  pass, 
as  if  it  had  not  tested  our  harmlessness  on 
our  own  door-stone. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  80;  Bird-House  to  Let,  by  Mary  F. 
Terrel;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs,  by 
John  Burroughs;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Trox- 


ANIMALS 


ell,  Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  also,  read- 
ings on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  21 
THE  CHIPPING  SPARROW 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  chipping 
sparrow  is  a  cheerful  and  useful  little 
neighbor.  It  builds  a  nest,  lined  with 
horsehair,  in  the  shrubbery  and  vines 
about  our  homes  and  works  hard  in  rid- 
ding our  gardens  of  insect  pests  and  seeds 
of  weeds. 

METHOD  —  Begin  this  lesson  with  a 
nest  of  the  chippy,  which  is  so  unmistak- 
able that  it  may  be  collected  and  identi- 
fied in  the  winter.  Make  the  study  of  this 
nest  so  interesting  that  the  pupils  will 
wait  anxiously  to  watch  for  the  birds 
which  made  it.  As  soon  as  the  chippies 
appear,  the  questions  should  be  asked,  a 
few  at  a  time,  giving  the  children  several 
weeks  for  the  study. 

THE  NEST 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Where  was  this 
nest  found?  How  high  from  the  ground? 

2.  Was  it  under  shelter?  How  was  it 
supported? 

3.  Of  what  material  is  the  outside  of 
the  nest?  How  is  it  fastened  together? 
How  do  you  suppose  the  bird  wove  this 
material  together? 

4.  Of  what  material  is  the  lining?  Why 
is  the  bird  that  built  this  nest  called  the 
"  hair-bird  "?  From  what  animal  do  you 
think  the  lining  of  the  nest  came?  How  do 
you  suppose  the  bird  got  it? 

5.  Do  you  think  the  nest  was  well  hid- 
den when  the  leaves  were  about  it?  Meas- 
ure the  nest  across  and  also  its  depth;  do 
you  think  the  bird  that  made  it  is  as  large 
as  the  English  sparrow? 

THE  BIRD 

6.  How  can  you  tell  the  chippy  from 
the  English  sparrow? 

7.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  chippy  as 
follows:    beak,   forehead,   crown,   marks 
above   and   through    the    eyes,   cheeks, 
throat,  breast,  wings,  and  tail.  Note  if  the 
wings  have  whitish  bars  and  how  many. 


8.  Describe  the  shape  of  the  beak  as 
compared  with  that  of  the  robin.  What 
is  this  shaped  bill  adapted  for? 

9.  What  is  the  food  of  the  chippy? 
Why  has  it  been  called  the  doorstep 
sparrow? 

10.  Note  whether  the  chippy  catches 
flies  or  moths  on  the  wing  like  the  phcebe. 

1 1 .  Why  should  we  protect  the  chippy 
and  try  to  induce  it  to  live  near  our 
gardens? 

12.  Does  it  run  or  hop  when  seeking 
food  on  the  ground? 

13.  How  early  in  the  season  does  the 
chippy  appear  and  where  does  it  spend 
the  winter? 

14.  Can    you    describe    the    chippy's 
song?  How  do  you  think  it  won  the  name 
of  chipping  sparrow? 

15.  If  you  have  the  luck  to  find  a  pair 
of  chippies  nesting,  keep  a  diary  of  your 
observations  in  your  notebook  covering 
the  following  points:  Do  both  parents 
build  the  nest?  Flow  is  the  framework 
laid?  How  is  the  finishing  done?  What  is 
the  number  and  color  of  the  eggs?  Do 
both  parents  feed  the  young?  How  do 
young  chippies  act  when  they  first  leave 
the  nest?  How  large  are  the  young  birds 
before  the  parents  stop  feeding  them? 
What  are  the  differences  in  color  and 
markings  between  parents  and  young? 

THE  FIELD-SPARROW 

A  bubble  of  music  floats,  the  slope  of  the 
hillside  over; 

A  little  wandering  sparrow's  notes;  and 
the  bloom  of  yarrow  and  clover, 

And  the  smell  of  sweet-fern  and  the  bay- 
berry  leaf,  on  his  ripple  of  song  are 
stealing, 

For  he  is  a  cheerful  thief,  the  wealth  of 
the  fields  revealing. 

One  syllable,  clear  and  soft  as  a  raindrop's 

silvery  patter, 
Or  a  tinkling  fairy-bell;  heard  aloft,  in  the 

midst  of  the  merry  chatter 
Of  robin  and  linnet  and  wren  and  /"ay,  one 

syllable,  oft  repeated; 
He  has  but  a  word  to  say,  and  of  that  he 

will  not  be  cheated. 


BIRDS 


89 


The  singer  I  have  not  seen;  but  the  song 

I  arise  and  follow 
The  brown  hills  over,  the  pastures  green, 

and  into  the  sunlit  hollow. 
With  a  joy  that  his  life  unto  mine  has 

lent,  I  can  feel  my  glad  eyes  glisten, 
Though  he  hides  in  his  happy  tent,  while 

I  stand  outside,  and  listen. 


This  way  would  I  also  sing,  my  dear  little 

hillside  neighbor! 
A  tender  carol  of  peace  to  bring  to  the 

sunburnt  fields  of  labor 
Is  better  than  making  a  loud  ado;  trill  on, 

amid  clover  and  yarrow/ 
There's   a   heart-beat   echoing  you,   and 

blessing  you,  blithe  little  sparrow/ 

—  LUCY  LARCOM 


THE  SONG  SPARROW 

He  does  not  wear  a  Joseph's  coat  of  many  colors,  smart  and  gay 
His  suit  is  Quaker  brown  and  gray,  with  darker  patches  at  his  throat. 
And  yet  of  all  the  well-dressed  throng,  not  one  can  sing  so  brave  a  song. 
It  makes  the  pride  of  looks  appear  a  vain  and  foolish  thing  to  hear 
In  "  Sweet,  sweet,  sweet,  very  merry  cheer. " 

A  lofty  place  he  does  not  love,  he  sits  by  choice  and  well  at  ease 

In  hedges  and  in  little  trees,  that  stretch  their  slender  arms  above 

The  meadow  brook;  and  then  he  sings  till  all  the  field  with  pleasure  rings; 

And  so  he  tells  in  every  ear,  that  lowly  homes  to  heaven  are  near 

In  "  Sweet,  sweet,  sweet,  very  merry  cheer." 

—  HENRY  VAN  DYKE 


Children  may  commit  to  memory  the 
poem  from  which  the  above  stanzas  were 
taken;  seldom  in  literature  have  detailed 
accurate  observation  and  poetry  been  so 
happily  combined  as  in  these  verses.  The 
lesson  might  begin  in  March  when  we 
are  all  listening  eagerly  for  bird  voices,  and 
the  children  should  be  asked  to  look  out 
for  a  little,  brown  bird  which  sings, 
"  Sweet,  sweet,  sweet,  very  merry  cheer," 
or,  as  Thoreau  interprets  it,  "  Maids! 
Maids!  Maids!  Hang  on  the  teakettle, 
teakettle-ettle-ettle."  In  early  childhood 
I  learned  to  distinguish  this  sparrow  by  its 
"Teakettle"  song.  Besides  this  song,  it 
has  others  quite  as  sweet;  and  when 
alarmed  it  utters  a  sharp  "Tchink, 
t'chinL" 

The  song  sparrow  prefers  the  neighbor- 
hood of  brooks  and  ponds  which  are  bor- 
dered with  bushes,  and  also  the  hedges 
planted  by  nature  along  rail  or  other  field 
fences,  and  it  has  a  special  liking  for  the 
shrubbery  about  gardens.  Its  movements 
and  flight  are  very  characteristic;  it  usually 


sits  on  the  tip-top  of  a  shrub  or  low  tree 
when  it  sings;  when  disturbed,  however, 
it  never  rises  in  the  air  but  drops  into  a  low 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

The  song  sparrow  usually  builds  its  nest  on 
the  ground 

flight  and  plunges  into  a  thicket  with  a 
defiant  twitch  of  the  tail  which  says 
plainly,  "  Find  me  if  you  can." 


ANIMALS 


A.  A.  Allen 


The  eggs  are  bluish  white  with  many  brown 
markings 

The  color  and  markings  of  this  bird 
are  typical  of  the  sparrows.  The  head  is 
a  warm  brown  with  a  gray  streak  along 
the  center  of  the  crown  and  one  above 
each  eye,  with  a  dark  line  through  the  eye. 
The  back  is  brown  with  darker  streaks. 
The  throat  is  white  with  a  dark  spot  on 
either  side;  the  breast  is  white  spotted 
with  brown  with  a  large,  dark  blotch  at 
its  very  center;  this  breast  blotch  distin- 
guishes this  bird  from  all  other  sparrows. 
The  tail  and  wings  are  brown  and  without 
buff  or  white  bars  or  other  markings.  The 
tail  is  long,  rounded,  and  very  expressive 
of  emotions,  and  makes  the  bird  look 
more  slender  than  the  English  sparrow. 

The  nest  is  usually  placed  on  the  ground 
or  in  low  bushes  not  more  than  five  feet 
from  the  ground;  it  varies  much  in  both 
size  and  material;  it  is  sometimes  con- 
structed of  coarse  weeds  and  grasses;  and 
sometimes  only  fine  grass  is  used.  Some- 
times it  is  lined  with  hair,  and  again,  with 
fine  grass;  sometimes  it  is  deep,  but  oc- 
casionally is  shallow.  The  eggs  have  a 
whitish  ground-color  tinged  with  blue  or 
green,  but  are  so  blotched  and  marked 
with  brown  that  they  are  safe  from  ob- 
servation of  enemies.  The  nesting  season 
begins  in  May,  and  there  are  usually  three 
and  sometimes  four  broods;  but  so  far  as 
I  have  observed,  a  nest  is  never  used  for 


two  consecutive  broods.  The  song  spar- 
rows stay  with  us  in  New  York  State  very 
late  in  the  fall,  and  a  few  stay  in  sheltered 
places  all  winter.  The  quality  in  this  bird 
which  endears  him  to  us  all  is  the  spirit 
of  song  which  stays  with  him;  his  sweet 
trill  may  be  heard  almost  any  month  of 
the  year,  and  he  has  a  charming  habit  of 
singing  in  his  dreams. 

The  song  sparrow  is  not  only  the  dearest 
of  little  neighbors,  but  it  also  works  lustily 
for  our  good  and  for  its  own  food  at  the 
same  time.  It  destroys  cutworms,  plant 
lice,  caterpillars,  canker-worms,  ground 
beetles,  grasshoppers,  and  flies;  in  winter 
it  destroys  thousands  of  weed  seeds,  which 
otherwise  would  surely  plant  themselves 
to  our  undoing.  Every  boy  and  girl  should 
take  great  pains  to  drive  away  stray  cats 
and  to  teach  the  family  puss  not  to  meddle 
with  birds;  for  cats  are  the  worst  of  all 
the  song  sparrow's  enemies,  destroying 
thousands  of  its  nestlings  every  year. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  31;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs, 
by  John  Burroughs;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Trox- 
ell,  Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  also, 
readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  22 
THE  SONG  SPARROW 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  beautiful 
song  of  this  sparrow  is  usually  heard  earlier 
in  the  spring  than  the  notes  of  bluebird 
or  robin.  The  dark  blotch  in  the  center  of 
its  speckled  breast  distinguishes  this  spar- 
row from  all  others;  it  is  very  beneficial 
and  should  be  protected  from  cats. 


"  Sweet,  sweet,  sweet,  very  merry  cheer  " 


BIRDS 

METHOD  —  All  the  observations  of  the 
song  sparrow  must  be  made  in  the  field, 
and  they  are  easily  made  because  the  bird 
builds  near  houses,  in  gardens,  and  in  the 
shrubbery.  Poetry  and  other  literature 
about  the  song  sparrow  should  be  given 
to  the  pupils  to  read  or  to  memorize. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  Have  you  noticed 
a  little  brown  bird  singing  a  very  sweet 
song  in  the  early  spring?  Did  the  song 
sound  as  if  set  to  the  words  "  Little  Maid! 
Little, Maid!  Little  Maid!  Put  on  the  tea- 
kettle, teakettle-ettle-ettle  "? 

2.  Where  was  this  bird  when  you  heard 
him  singing?  How  high  was  he  perched 
above  the  ground?  What  other  notes  did 
you  hear  him  utter? 

3.  Describe  the  colors  and  markings  of 
the  song  sparrow  on  head,  back,  throat, 
breast,  wings,  and  tail.  Is  this  bird  as  large 
as  the  English  sparrow?  What  makes  it 
look  more  slim? 

4.  How  can  you  distinguish  the  song 
sparrow  from  the  other  sparrows?  When 
disturbed  does  it  fly  up  or  down?  How 
does  it  gesture  with  its  tail  as  it  disappears 
in  the  bushes? 

5.  Where  and  of  what  material  does 
the  song  sparrow  build  its  nest? 

6.  What  colors  and  markings  are  on 
the  eggs?  Do  you  think  these  colors  and 
markings  are  useful  in  concealing  the  eggs 
when  the  mother  bird  leaves  the  nest? 

7.  How  late  in  the  season  do  you  see 
the  song  sparrows  and  hear  their  songs? 

8.  How  can  we  protect  these  charming 
little  birds  and  induce  them  to  build  near 
our  houses? 


91 

9.  What  is  the  food  of  the  song  spar- 
rows and  how  do  they  benefit  our  fields 
and  gardens?  Name  some  of  the  injurious 
insects  that  they  eat. 

THE  SING-AWAY  BIRD 
Have  you  ever  heard  of  the  Sing-away 

bird, 

That  sings  where  the  Runaway  River 
Runs  down  with  its  rills  from  the  bald- 
headed  hills 

That  stand  in  the  sunshine  and  shiver? 
"  Oh,  sing!  sing-away!  sing-away/  " 
How  the  pines  and  the  birches  are  stirred 
By  the  trill  of  the  Sing-away  bird/ 

And   the    bald-headed   hills,   with    their 

rocks  and  their  rills, 
To  the  tune  of  his  rapture  are  ringing; 

And  their  faces  grow  young,  all  the  gray 

mists  among, 

While  the  forests  break  forth  into  sing- 
ing. 

"  Oh,  sing/  sing-away/  sing-awayl " 

And  the  river  runs  singing  along; 

And  the  flying  winds  catch  up  the  song. 


Twas  a  white-throated  sparrow,  that  sped 

a  light  arrow 

Of  song  from  his  musical  quiver, 
And  it  pierced  with  its  spell  every  valley 

and  dell 

On  the  banks  of  the  Runaway  River, 
"  Oh,  sing/  sing-away/  sing-away/ " 
The  song  of  the  wild  singer  had 
The  sound  of  a  soul  that  is  glad. 

—  LUCY  LARCOM 


THE  MOCKINGBIRD 


Among  all  the  vocalists  in  the  bird 
world,  the  mockingbird  is  seldom  rivaled 
in  the  variety  and  richness  of  his  repertoire. 
The  mockingbirds  go  as  far  north  as  south- 
ern New  England,  but  they  are  found  at 
their  best  in  the  Southern  states  and 
in  California.  On  the  Gulf  Coast  the 
mockers  begin  singing  in  February;  in 
warmer  climates  they  sing  almost  the 
year  through.  During  the  nesting  season, 


the  father  mocker  is  so  busy  with  his  cares 
and  duties  during  the  day  that  he  does  not 
have  time  to  sing,  and  so  he  devotes  the 
nights  to  serenading;  he  may  sing  almost 
all  night  long  if  there  is  moonlight,  and 
even  on  dark  nights  he  gives  now  and 
then  a  happy,  sleepy  song.  Not  all  mock- 
ingbirds are  mockers;  some  sing  their  own 
song,  which  is  rich  and  beautiful;  while 
others  learn,  in  addition,  not  only  the 


ANIMALS 


L.  A.  Fuertes 


The  mockingbird 


songs  of  other  birds,  but  their  call  notes  as 
well.  One  authority  noted  a  mocker  which 
imitated  the  songs  of  twenty  species  of 
birds  during  a  ten-minute  performance. 
When  singing,  the  mocker  shows  his  re- 
lationship to  the  brown  thrasher  by  lift- 
ing the  head  and  depressing  and  jerking 
the  tail.  A  good  mocker  will  learn  a  tune, 
or  parts  of  it,  if  it  is  whistled  often  enough 
in  his  hearing;  he  will  also  imitate  other 
sounds  and  will  often  improve  on  a  song 
he  has  learned  from  another  bird  by  intro- 
ducing frills  of  his  own;  when  learning 
a  song,  he  sits  silent  and  listens  intently, 
but  will  not  try  to  sing  it  until  it  is  learned. 
Although  the  mockingbirds  live  in  wild 
places,  they  prefer  the  haunts  of  men,  tak- 
ing up  their  home  sites  in  gardens  and 
cultivated  grounds.  Their  flight  is  rarely 
higher  than  the  tree  tops  and  is  decidedly 
jerky  in  character  with  much  twitching  of 
the  long  tail.  For  nesting  sites,  they  choose 
thickets  or  the  lower  branches  of  trees,  be- 
ing especially  fond  of  orange  trees;  the 
nest  is  usually  from  four  to  twenty  feet 
from  the  ground.  The  foundation  of  the 
nest  is  made  of  sticks,  grasses,  and  weed 
stalks  interlaced  and  crisscrossed;  on  these 
is  built  the  nest  of  softer  materials,  such 
as  rootlets,  horsehair,  cotton,  or  in  fact 


anything  suitable  which  is  at  hand.  The 
nest  is  often  in  plain  sight,  since  the 
mocker  trusts  to  his  strength  as  a  fighter 
to  protect  it.  He  will  attack  cats  with  great 
ferocity  and  vanquish  them;  he  will  often 
kill  snakes;  good-sized  black  snakes  have 
been  known  to  end  thus;  he  will  also  drive 
away  birds  much  larger  than  himself.  In 
making  his  attack,  the  mocker  hovers 
above  his  enemy  and  strikes  it  at  the  back 
of  the  head  or  neck. 

The  female  lays  from  four  to  six  pale 
greenish  or  bluish  eggs  blotched  with 
brown  which  hatch  in  about  two  weeks; 
then  comes  a  period  of  hard  work  for  the 
parents,  as  both  are  indefatigable  in  catch- 
ing insects  to  feed  the  young.  The  mocker, 
by  the  way,  is  an  amusing  sight  as  he 
chases  a  beetle  on  the  ground,  lifting  his 
wings  in  a  pugnacious  fashion.  The  mock- 
ers often  raise  three  broods  a  season;  the 
young  birds  have  spotted  breasts,  showing 
their  relationship  to  the  thrasher. 

As  a  wooer,  the  mocker  is  a  bird  of 
much  ceremony  and  dances  into  his  lady's 
graces.  Mrs.  F.  W.  Rowe,  in  describing 
this,  says  that  the  birds  stand  facing  each 
other  with  heads  and  tails  erect  and  wings 
drooping;  "  then  the  dance  would  begin, 
and  this  consisted  of  the  two  hopping 
sideways  in  the  same  direction  and  in 
rather  a  straight  line  a  few  inches  at  a 


*       :       '''''"       "    '   •        /  "I  •    •'  >'S^*"N|jS' 


A.  A.  Allen 

A  mockingbird  on  her  nest  in  a  thicket 


BIRDS 


93 


time,  always  keeping  directly  opposite 
each  other  and  about  the  same  distance 
apart.  They  would  chassez  this  way  four 
or  five  feet,  then  go  back  over  the  same 
line  in  the  same  manner/7  Mrs.  Rowe 
also  observed  that  the  male  mockers  have 
hunting  preserves  of  their  own,  not  allow- 
ing any  other  males  of  their  species  in 
these  precincts.  The  boundary  was  sus- 
tained by  tactics  of  both  offense  and 
defense;  but  certain  other  species  of 
birds  were  allowed  to  trespass  without 
reproof. 

Maurice  Thompson  describes  in  a  de- 
lightful manner  the  "  mounting "  and 
"  dropping  "  songs  of  the  mocker  which 
occur  during  the  wooing  season.  The 
singer  flits  up  from  branch  to  branch  of 
a  tree,  singing  as  he  goes,  and  finally  on 
the  topmost  bough  gives  his  song  of  tri- 
umph to  the  world;  then,  reversing  the 
process,  he  falls  backward  from  spray  to 
spray,  as  if  drunk  with  the  ecstasy  of  his 
own  song,  which  is  an  exquisitely  soft 
"  gurgling  series  of  notes,  liquid  and  sweet, 
that  seem  to  express  utter  rapture." 

The  mockingbirds  have  the  same  colors 
in  both  sexes;  the  head  is  black,  the  back 
is  ashy-gray;  the  tail  and  wings  are  so 
dark  brown  that  they  look  black;  the  tail 
is  very  long  and  has  the  outer  tail  feathers 
entirely  white  and  the  two  next  inner  ones 
are  white  for  more  than  half  their  length; 
the  wings  have  a  strikingly  broad,  white 
bar,  which  is  very  noticeable  when  the 
bird  is  flying.  The  under  parts  and  breast 
are  grayish  white;  the  beak  and  legs  are 
blackish.  The  food  of  the  mockingbirds 
is  about  half  insects  and  half  fruit.  They 
live  largely  on  the  berries  of  the  red  cedar, 
myrtle,  and  holly,  and  we  must  confess  are 
often  too  much  devoted  to  the  fruits  in  our 
orchards  and  gardens;  but  let  us  put  down 
to  their  credit  that  they  do  their  best  to 
exterminate  the  cotton  boll  caterpillars 
and  moths,  and  also  many  other  insects 
injurious  to  crops. 

The  mocker  is  full  of  tricks  and  is  dis- 
tinctly a  bird  of  humor.  He  will  frighten 
other  birds  by  screaming  like  a  hawk  and 
then  seem  to  chuckle  over  the  joke. 

Sidney  Lanier  describes  him  well: 


^f^^ii^m,,^.^  ,.._ .  „ 
%M . ;  • 

^ 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

The  brown  thrasher,  a  close  relative  of  the 
mockingbird;  is  also  an  accomplished  musi- 
cian 

Whatever  birds  did  or  dreamed,  tin's  bird 

could  say. 

Then  down  lie  shot,  bounced  airily  along 
The  sward,   twitched  in  a  grasshopper, 

made  song 
Midffight,  perched,  prinked,  and  to  his 

art  again. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  41;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  23 
THE  MOCKINGBIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  mockingbird 
is  the  only  one  of  our  common  birds  that 
sings  regularly  at  night.  It  imitates  the 
songs  of  other  birds  and  has  also  a  beauti- 
ful song  of  its  own.  When  feeding  their 
nestlings,  the  mockers  do  us  great  service 
by  destroying  insect  pests. 

METHOD  —  Studies  of  this  bird  are  best 
made  individually  by  the  pupils  through 
watching  the  mockers  which  haunt  the 
houses  and  shrubbery.  If  there  are  mock- 
ingbirds near  the  schoolhouse,  the  work 
can  be  done  in  the  most  ideal  way  by  keep- 
ing records  in  the  school  of  all  the  obser- 
vations made  by  the  pupils,  thus  bringing 
out  an  interesting  mockingbird  story. 

OBSERVATIONS— i.  Duringwhatmonths 
of  the  year  and  for  how  many  months  does 
the  mockingbird  sing  in  this  locality? 


94 


ANIMALS 


2.  Does  he  sing  only  on  moonlight 
nights?  Does  he  sing  all  night? 

3.  Can  you  distinguish  the  true  mock- 
ingbird song  from  the  songs  which  he  has 
learned  from  other  birds?  Describe  the 
actions  of  a  mocker  when  he  is  sing- 
ing. 

4.  How  many  songs  of  other  birds  have 
you  heard  a  mocker  give  and  what  are 
the  names  of  these  birds? 

5.  Have  you  ever  taught  a  mocker  a 
tune  by  whistling  it  in  his  presence?  If 
so,  tell  how  long  it  was  before  he  learned 
it  and  how  he  acted  while  learning. 

6.  Describe  the  flight  of  the  mocking- 
birds. Do  they  fly  high  in  the  air  like 
crows? 

7.  Do  these  birds  like  best  to  live  in 
wild  places  or  about  houses  and  gardens? 

8.  Where  do  they  choose  sites  for  their 
nests?  Do  they  make  an  effort  to  hide  the 
nest?  If  not,  why? 

9.  Of  what  material  is  the  nest  made? 
How  is  it  lined?  How  far  from  the  ground 
is  it  placed? 

10.  What  are  the  colors  of  the  eggs? 
How  many  are  usually  laid?  Flow  long  be- 
fore they  hatch? 

11.  Give  instances  of  the  parents'  de- 
votion to  the  young  birds. 

12.  Have  you  seen  two  mockingbirds 
dancing  before  each  other  just  before  the 
nesting  season? 

13.  In  the  spring  have  you  heard  a 
mocker  sing  while  mounting  from  the 
lower  to  the  upper  branches  of  a  tree  and 
then  after  pouring  forth  his  best  song  fall 
backward  with  a  sweet,  gurgling  song  as 
if  intoxicated  with  his  music? 

14.  How  many  broods  does  a  pair  of 
mockers  raise  during  one  season?  How 
does  the  color  of  the  breast  of  the  young 
differ  from  that  of  the  parent? 

15.  How  does  the  father  bird  protect 


the  nestlings  from  other  birds,  cats,  and 
snakes? 

16.  Does   the   mocker   select    certain 
places  for  his  own  hunting  grounds  and 
drive  off  other  mockers  which  trespass? 

17.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  mocking- 
bird as  follows:  beak,  head,  back,  tail, 
wings,  throat,  breast,  under  parts  and  feet. 

18.  What  is  the  natural  food  of  the 
mockingbirds  and  how  do  they  benefit  the 
farmer?  How  does  the  mocker  act  when 
attacking  a  ground  beetle? 

19.  Have     you     seen     mockingbirds 
frighten  other  birds  by  imitating  the  cry 
of  a  hawk?  Have  you  seen  them  play  other 
tricks? 

20.  Tell  a  story  which  includes  your 
own  observations  on  the  ways  of  mocking- 
birds which  you  have  known. 

Soft  and  low  the  song  began:  I  scarcely 
caught  it  as  it  ran 

Through  the  melancholy  trill  of  the  plain- 
tive whip-poor-will, 

Through  the  ringdove's  gentle  wail,  chat- 
tering jay  and  whistling  quail, 

Sparrow's  twitter,  catbird's  cry,  redbird's 
whistle,  robin's  sigh; 

Blackbird,  bluebird,  swallow,  lark,  each 
his  native  note  might  mark. 

Oft  he  tried  the  lesson  o'er,  each  time 
louder  than  before; 

Burst  at  length  the  finished  song,  loud  and 
clear  it  poured  along; 

All  the  choir  in  silence  heard,  hushed  be- 
fore this  wondrous  bird. 

All  transported  and  amazed,  scarcely 
breathing,  long  I  gazed. 

Now  it  reached  the  loudest  swell;  lower, 
lower,  now  it  fell,  — 

Lower,  lower,  lower  still,  scarce  it  sounded 
o'er  the  rill. 

—  JOSEPH  RODMAN  DRAKE 


BIRDS 


THE  CATBIRD 

The  Catbird  sings  a  crooked  song?  in  minors  that  are  flat, 
And,  when  he  can't  control  his  voice  he  mews  just  like  a  cat. 
Then  nods  his  head  and  whisks  his  tail  and  lets  it  go  at  that. 

—  OLIVER  DAVIE 


As  a  performer,  the  catbird  distinctly 
belongs  to  the  vaudeville,  even  going  so 
far  as  to  appear  in  slate-colored  tights.  His 
specialties  range  from  the  most  exquisite 
song  to  the  most  strident  of  scolding 
notes;  his  nasal  "  n-y-a-a-h,  n-y-a-a-h  "  is 
not  so  very  much  like  the  cat's  mew  after 
all,  but  when  addressed  to  the  intruder 
it  means  "  get  out  ";  and  not  in  the  whole 
gamut  of  bird  notes  is  there  another  which 
so  quickly  inspires  the  listener  with  this 
desire.  I  once  trespassed  upon  the  terri- 
tory of  a  well-grown  catbird  family  and 
the  squalling  that  ensued  was  ear-splitting; 
as  I  retreated,  the  triumphant  youngsters 
followed  me  for  a  few  rods  with  every 
sign  of  triumph  in  their  actions  and  voices; 
they  obviously  enjoyed  my  apparent 
fright.  The  catbirds  have  rather  a  pleasant 
"  cluck,  cluck "  when  talking  to  each 
other,  hidden  in  the  bushes,  and  they  also 
have  a  variety  of  other  notes.  The  true 
song  of  the  catbird,  usually  given  in  the 
early  morning,  is  very  beautiful.  Mr. 
Mathews  thinks  it  is  a  medley  gathered 
from  other  birds,  but  it  seems  to  me  very 
individual.  However,  true  to  his  vaude- 
ville training,  this  bird  is  likely  to  intro- 
duce into  the  middle  or  at  the  end  of  his 
exquisite  song  some  phrase  that  suggests 
his  cat  call.  He  is,  without  doubt,  a 
true  mocker  and  will  often  imitate  the 
robin's  song,  and  also  if  opportunity  offers 
learns  to  converse  fluently  in  chicken 
language.  One  spring  morning  I  heard 
outside  my  window  the  mellow  song  of 
the  cardinal,  which  is  a  rare  visitor  in 
New  York,  but  there  was  no  mistaking  the 
"  tor-re-do,  tor-re-do."  I  sprang  from  my 
bed  and  rushed  to  the  window,  only  to 
see  a  catbird  singing  the  cardinal  song, 
and  thus  telling  me  that  he  had  come 
from  the  sunny  South  and  the  happy  com- 


panionship of  these  brilliant  birds.  Often 
when  the  catbird  is  singing,  he  sits  on  the 
topmost  spray  of  some  shrub  lifting  his 
head  and  depressing  his  tail,  like  a  brown 
thrasher;  and  again,  he  sings  completely 
hidden  in  the  thicket. 

In  appearance  the  catbird  is  tailor- 
made,  belonging  to  the  same  social  class 
as  the  cedar-bird  and  the  barn  swallow. 


Robert  Matheson 

A  catbird  on  its  nest 

However,  it  affects  quiet  colors,  and  its 
well-fitting  costume  is  all  slate-gray  except 
the  top  of  the  head  and  the  tail  which  are 
black;  the  feathers  beneath  the  base  of 
the  tail  are  brownish.  The  catbird  is  not 
so  large  as  the  robin,  and  is  of  very  differ- 
ent shape;  it  is  far  more  slender  and  has 
a  long,  emotional  tail.  The  way  the  cat- 
bird twitches  and  tilts  its  tail,  as  it  hops 
along  the  ground  or  alights  in  a  bush,  is 
very  characteristic.  It  is  a  particularly  alert 
and  nervous  bird,  always  on  the  watch  for 
intruders,  and  the  first  to  give  warning  to 
all  other  birds  of  their  approach.  It  is  a 
good  fighter  in  defending  its  nest,  and 
there  are  several  observed  instances  where 
it  has  fought  to  defend  the  nest  of  other 
species  of  birds;  and  it  has  gone  even 


The  catbird  lays  three  to  five  eggs  of  a  rich 
greenish  blue  in  a  well  constructed  nest  in  a 
dense  thicket 


further  in  its  philanthropy,  by  feeding 
their  orphaned  nestlings. 

The  catbird  chooses  a  nesting  site  in  a 
low  tree  or  shrub  or  brier,  where  the  nest 
is  built  usually  about  four  feet  from  the 
ground.  The  nest  looks  untidy,  but  is 
strongly  made  of  sticks,  coarse  grass, 
weeds,  bark  strips,  and  occasionally  paper; 
it  is  lined  with  soft  roots  and  is  almost  al- 
ways well  hidden  in  dense  foliage.  The 
eggs  are  from  three  to  five  in  number  and 
are  dark  greenish  blue.  Both  parents  work 
hard  feeding  the  young  and  for  this  pur- 
pose destroy  many  insects  which  we  can 
well  spare.  Sixty-two  per  cent  of  the  food 
of  the  young  has  been  found  in  one  in- 
stance to  be  cutworms,  showing  what  a 
splendid  work  the  parents  do  in  our  gar- 
dens. In  fact,  during  a  large  part  of  the 
summer,  while  these  birds  are  rearing  their 
two  broods,  they  benefit  us  greatly  by  de- 
stroying the  insect  pests;  and  although 
later  they  may  attack  our  fruits  and  ber- 
ries, it  almost  seems  as  if  they  had  earned 
the  right  to  their  share.  If  we  only  had 
the  wisdom  to  plant  along  the  fences  some 
elderberries  or  Russian  mulberries,  the  cat- 
birds as  well  as  the  robins  would  feed 
upon  them  instead  of  the  cultivated  fruits. 


ANIMALS 

The  catbirds  afford  a  striking  example 
for  impressing  upon  children  that  each 
species  of  birds  haunts  certain  kinds  of 
places.  The  catbirds  are  not  often  found 
in  deep  woods  or  in  open  fields,  but  usu- 
ally near  low  thickets  along  streams,  and 
in  shrubbery  along  fences,  in  tangles  of 
vines,  and  especially  do  they  like  to  build 
about  our  gardens,  if  we  protect  them. 
They  are  very  fond  of  bathing,  and  if 
fresh  water  is  given  them  for  this  purpose, 
we  may  have  opportunity  to  witness  the 
most  thorough  bath  a  bird  can  take.  A 
catbird  takes  a  long  time  to  bathe  and 
preen  its  feathers  and  indulges  in  most 
luxurious  sun  baths  and  thus  deservedly 
earns  the  epithet  of  "  well-groomecl  ";  it 
is  one  of  the  most  intelligent  of  all  our 
birds  and  soon  learns  "  what  is  what,"  and 
repays  in  the  most  surprising  way  the  trou- 
ble of  careful  observation. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  70;  Bird-House  to  Let,  by  Mary  F. 
Terrel;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs,  by 
John  Burroughs;  also,  readings  on  pages 
28-29. 

LESSON  24 
THE  CATBIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  catbird  has 
a  beautiful  song  as  well  as  the  harsh 
"  miou,"  and  can  imitate  other  birds,  al- 
though not  so  well  as  the  mockingbird. 
It  builds  in  low  thickets  and  shrubbery 
and  during  the  nesting  season  is  of  great 
benefit  to  our  gardens. 

METHOD  —  First,  let  the  pupils  study 
and  report  upon  the  songs,  scoldings,  and 
other  notes  of  this  our  northern  mocking- 
bird; then  let  them  describe  its  appearance 
and  habits. 

OBSERVATIONS— i.  Do  you  think  the 
squall  of  the  catbird  sounds  like  the  mew 
of  a  cat?  When  does  the  bird  use  this  note 
and  what  for?  What  other  notes  have  you 
heard  it  utter? 

2.  Describe  as  well  as  you  can  the  cat- 
bird's true  song.  Are  there  any  harsh  notes 
in  it?  Where  does  he  sit  while  singing? 
Describe  the  actions  of  the  catbird  while 
he  is  singing. 

3.  Have  you  ever  heard  the  catbird  imi- 


BIRDS 

tate  the  songs  of  other  birds  or  other 
noises? 

4.  Describe  the  catbird  as  follows:  its 
size  and  shape  compared  to  the  robin;  the 
color  and  shape  of  head,  beak,  wings,  tail, 
breast,  and  under  parts. 

5.  Describe  its  peculiar  actions  and  its 
characteristic  movements. 

6.  Where  do  catbirds  build  their  nests? 
How  high  from  the  ground?  What  ma- 
terial is  used?  Is  the  nest  compact  and 
carefully  finished?  Is  it  hidden? 

7.  What  is  the  color  of  the  eggs?  Do 
both  parents  care  for  the  young? 

8.  What  is  the  food  of  the  catbird? 
Why  is  it  an  advantage  to  us  to  have  cat- 
birds build  in  our  gardens? 

9.  Do  you  ever  find  catbirds  in  the  deep 
woods    or   out   in   the   open   meadows? 
Where  do  you  find  them? 


97 

10.  Put  out  a  pan  of  water  where  the 
catbirds  can  use  it  and  then  watch  them 
make  their  toilets  and  describe  the  proc- 
ess. Describe  how  the  catbirds  take  sun 
baths. 


He  sits  on  a  branch  of  yon  blossoming 
bush, 

This  madcap  cousin  of  robin  and  thrush. 

And   sings   without   ceasing    the   whole 
morning  long; 

Now    wild,    now    tender,    the    wayward 
song 

That  flows  from  his  soft,  gray,  fluttering 
throat; 

But  often  he  stops  in  his  sweetest  note, 

And,  shaking  a  flower  from  the  blossom- 
ing bough, 

Drawls  out,  "  Mi-eu,  mi-ow!  " 
—  "  THE  CATBIRD/'  EDITH  M.  THOMAS 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

A  family  of  seven  young  belted  kingfishers  that  were  posed  for  the  camera 


THE  BELTED  KINGFISHER 


This  patrol  of  our  streams  and  lake 
shores,  in  his  cadet  uniform,  is  indeed  a 
military  figure  as  well  as  a  militant  per- 
sonality. As  he  sits  upon  his  chosen  branch 
overhanging  some  stream  or  lake  shore, 
his  crest  abristle,  his  keen  eye  fixed  on  the 


water  below,  his  whole  bearing  alert,  one 
must  acknowledge  that  this  fellow  puts 
"  ginger  "  into  his  environment,  and  that 
the  spirit  which  animates  him  is  very  far 
from  the  "  dolce  far  niente  "  which  per- 
meates the  ordinary  fisherman.  However, 


ANIMALS 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

A  moment  between  diggings.  This  male 
belted  kingfisher  hesitates  on  the  doorstep  of 
the  nesting  burrow  which  lie  is  digging.  To 
him,  rather  than  to  his  mate,  falls  the  task  of 
home-building 

he  does  not  fish  for  fun  but  for  business; 
his  keen  eye  catches  the  gleam  of  a  mov- 
ing fin  and  he  darts  from  his  perch,  holds 
himself  for  a  moment  on  steady  wings 
above  the  surface  of  the  water,  to  be  sure 
of  his  quarry,  and  then  there  is  a  dash 
and  a  splash  and  he  returns  to  his  perch 
with  the  wriggling  fish  in  his  strong  beak. 
Usually  he  at  once  proceeds  to  beat  its  life 
out  against  a  branch  and  then  to  swallow 
it  sensibly,  head  first,  so  that  the  fins 
will  not  prick  his  throat  nor  the  scales 
rasp  it.  He  swallows  the  entire  fish,  trust- 
ing to  his  internal  organs  to  select 
the  nourishing  part;  and  later  he  gulps 
up  a  ball  of  the  indigestible  scales  and 
bones. 

The  kingfisher  is  very  different  in  form 
from  an  ordinary  bird;  he  is  larger  than 
a  robin,  and  his  head  and  fore  parts  are 
much  larger  in  proportion;  this  is  the  more 
noticeable  because  of  the  long  feathers 


Kingfisher's  foot.  This  shows  the  weak 
toes;  the  third  and  fourth  are  joined  to- 
gether, which  undoubtedly  assists  the  bird  in 
pushing  out  soil  when  excavating 

of  the  head  which  he  lifts  into  a  crest,  and 
because  of  the  shortness  of  the  tail.  The 
beak  is  very  long  and  strong,  enabling  the 


kingfisher  to  seize  the  fish  and  hold  it 
fast,  but  the  legs  are  short  and  weak.  The 
third  and  fourth  toes  are  grown  together 
for  a  part  of  their  length;  this  is  of  use 
to  the  bird  in  pushing  earth  from  the  bur- 
row, when  excavating.  The  kingfisher  has 
no  need  for  running  and  hopping,  like 
the  robin,  and  therefore  does  not  need 
the  robin's  strong  legs  and  feet.  His  colors 
are  beautiful  and  harmonious;  the  upper 
parts  are  grayish  blue,  the  throat  and  collar 
white,  as  is  also  the  breast,  which  has  a 
bluish  gray  band  across  the  upper  part, 
this  giving  the  name  of  the  Belted  King- 
fisher to  the  bird.  The  feathers  of  the 
wings  are  tipped  with  white  and  the  tail 
feathers  narrowly  barred  with  white.  The 
under  side  of  the  body  is  white  in  the 
males,  while  in  the  females  it  is  somewhat 
chestnut  in  color.  There  is  a  striking  white 
spot  just  in  front  of  the  eye. 

The  kingfisher  parents  builcl  their  nest 
in  a  burrow  which  they  tunnel  horizon- 
tally in  a  bank;  sometimes  there  is  a  vesti- 
bule of  several  feet  before  the  nest  is 
reached,  and  at  other  times  it  is  built 
very  close  to  the  opening.  Both  parents  are 
industrious  in  catching  fish  for  their  nest- 
lings, but  the  burden  of  this  duty  falls 
heaviest  upon  the  male.  Many  fish  bones 
are  found  in  the  nest,  and  they  seem  so 
clean  and  white  that  they  have  been  re- 
garded as  nest  lining.  Wonderful  tales  are 
told  of  the  way  the  English  kingfishers  use 


Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr. 

A  large  sharply  pointed  bill  and  a  good  aim 
behind  it  is  all  the  equipment  this  feathered 
fisherman  needs  to  catch  his  food 


BIRDS 


99 


fish  bones  to  support  the  earth  above  their 
nests,  and  tributes  have  been  paid  to  their 
architectural  skill.  But  it  is  generally  con- 
ceded that  the  lining  of  fish  bones  in  the 
nests  of  our  kingfisher  is  incidental,  since 
the  food  of  the  young  is  largely  fish,  al- 
though frogs,  insects,  and  other  creatures 
are  often  eaten  with  relish.  It  is  interesting 
to  note  the  process  by  which  the  young 
kingfisher  gets  its  skill  in  fishing.  I  have 
often  seen  one  dive  horizontally  for  a  yard 
or  two  beneath  the  water  and  come  up 
indignant  and  sputtering  because  the  fish 
had  escaped.  It  was  fully  two  weeks  more 
before  this  one  learned  to  drop  like  a 
bullet  on  its  quarry. 

The  note  of  the  kingfisher  is  a  loud  rat- 
tle, not  especially  pleasant  close  at  hand, 
but  not  unmusical  at  a  little  distance.  It  is 
a  curious  coincidence  that  it  sounds  very 
much  like  the  clicking  of  the  fisherman's 
reel;  it  is  a  sound  that  conjures  visions  of 
shade-dappled  streams  and  the  dancing, 
blue  waters  of  tree-fringed  lakes  and 
ponds. 

There  seems  to  be  a  division  of  fishing 
ground  among  the  kingfishers,  one  bird 
rarely  trespassing  upon  its  neighbor's  pre- 
serves. Unless  it  be  the  parent  pair  work- 
ing near  each  other  for  the  nestlings,  or 
the  nestlings  still  under  their  care,  we  sel- 
dom see  two  kingfishers  in  the  same  im- 
mediate locality. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  19;  also,  readings  on  pages 
28-29. 

LESSON  25 
THE  KINGFISHER 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  kingfisher  is 
fitted  by  form  of  body  and  beak  to  be  a 
fisherman. 

METHOD  —  If  the  school  be  near  a 
stream  or  pond  the  following  observations 
may  be  made  by  the  pupils;  otherwise  let 
the  boys  who  go  fishing  make  a  study  of 
the  bird  and  report  to  the  school. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  have  you 
seen  the  kingfisher?  Have  you  often  seen  it 
on  a  certain  branch  which  is  its  favorite 
perch?  Is  this  perch  near  the  water?  What 


is  the  advantage  of  this  position  to  the 
bird? 

2.  What  does  the  kingfisher  feed  upon? 
How  does  it  obtain  its  food?  Describe  the 
actions  of  one  of  these  birds  while  fishing. 

3.  With  what  weapons  does  the  king- 
fisher secure  the  fish?  How  long  is  its  beak 
compared  with  the  rest  of  its  body?  How 
does  it  kill  the  fish?  Does  it  swallow  the 
fish  head  or  tail  first?  Why?  Does  it  tear 
off  the  scales  or  fins  before  swallowing  it? 
How  does  it  get  rid  of  these  and  the  bones 
of  the  fish? 

4.  Which  is  the  larger,  the  kingfisher 
or  the  robin?  Describe  the  difference  in 
shape  of  the  bodies  of  these  two  birds; 
also  in  the  size  and  shape  of  feet  and 
beaks,  and  explain  why  they  are  so  differ- 
ent in  form.  What  is  there  peculiar  about 
the  kingfisher's  feet?  Do  you  know  which 
two  toes  are  grown  together? 

5.  What  are  the  colors  of  the  kingfisher 
in  general?  The  colors  of  head,  sides  of 
head,    collar,   back,   tail,   wings,   throat, 
breast,  and  under  parts?  Is  there  a  white 
spot  near  the  eye?  If  so,  where?  Do  you 
know  the  difference  in  colors  between  the 
parent  birds? 

6.  Where  is  the  nest  built?  How  is  it 
lined? 

7.  What  is  the  note  of  the  kingfisher? 
Does  it  give  it  while  perching  or  while  on 
the  wing?  Do  you  ever  find  more  than  one 
kingfisher  on  the  same  fishing  grounds? 

THE  KINGFISHER 

(OF  ENGLAND) 

For  the  handsome  Kingfisher,  go  not  to 

the  tree, 

No  bird  of  the  field  or  the  forest  is  he; 
In  the  dry  river  rock  he  did  never  abide, 
And  not  on  the  brown  heath  all  barren 

and  wide. 

He  lives  where  the  fresh,  sparkling  waters 
are  flowing, 

Where  the  tall  heavy  Typha  and  Loose- 
strife are  growing; 

By  the  bright  little  streams  that  all  joyfully 
run 

Awhile  in  the  shadow,  and  then  in  the  sun. 


ioo  ANIMALS 

He  lives  in  a  hole  that  is  quite  to  his 
mind, 

With  the  green  mossy  Hazel  roots  firmly 
entwined; 

Where  the  dark  Alder-bough  waves  grace- 
fully o'er, 

And  the  Sword-flag  and  Arrow-head  grow 
at  his  door. 


There  busily,  busily,  all  the  day  long, 

He  seelcs  for  small  fishes  the  shallows 
among; 

For  he  builds  his  nest  of  the  pearly  fish- 
bone, 

Deep,  deep,  in  the  bank,  far  retired,  and 
alone. 


Then  the  brown  Water-Rat  from  his  bur- 
row loots  out, 

To  see  what  his  neighbor  Kingfisher's 
about; 

And  the  green  Dragon-fly,  flitting  slowly 
away, 

Just  pauses  one  moment  to  bid  him  good- 
day. 

O  happy  Kingfisher/  What  care  should  he 

know, 
By  the  clear,  pleasant  streams,  as  he  skims 

to  and  fro, 
Now  lost  in  the  shadow,  now  bright  in  the 

sheen 
Of  the  hot  summer  sun,  glancing  scarlet 

and  green/ 

—  MARY  HOWITT 


THE  SCREECH  OWL 

Disquiet  yourselves  not;  Tis  nothing  but  a  little,  downy  owl.  —  SHELLEY 


Of  all  the  sounds  to  be  heard  at  night 
in  the  woods,  the  screech  owl's  song  is 
surely  the  most  fascinating;  its  fascination 
does  not  depend  on  music  but  upon  the 


Country  Life  in  America 

Screech  owls 


chills  which  it  sends  up  and  down  the 
spine  of  the  listener,  thus  attacking  a  quite 
different  set  of  nerves  than  do  other  bird 
songs.  The  weird  wail,  tremulous  and  long 
drawn  out,  although  so  blood-curdling,  is 
from  the  standpoint  of  the  owlet  the  most 
beautiful  music  in  the  world;  by  means  of 
it  he  calls  to  his  mate,  cheering  her  with 
the  assurance  of  his  presence  in  the  world; 
evidently  she  is  not  a  nervous  creature. 
The  screech  owls  are  likely  to  sing  at  night 
during  any  part  of  the  year;  nor  should  we 
infer  that  when  they  are  singing  they  are 
not  hunting,  for  perchance  their  music 
frightens  their  victims  into  fatal  activity. 
Although  the  note  is  so  unmistakable,  yet 
there  is  great  variation  in  the  songs  of  in- 
dividuals; the  great  variety  of  quavers  in 
the  song  offers  ample  opportunity  for  the 
expression  of  individuality.  Moreover, 
these  owls  often  give  themselves  over  to 
tremulous  whispering  and  they  emphasize 
excitement  by  snapping  their  beaks  in  an 
alarming  manner. 

Any  bird  that  is  flying  about  and  singing 
in  the  night  time  must  be  able  to  see 
where  it  is  going,  and  the  owls  have  spe- 
cial adaptations  for  this.  The  eyes  are 


BIRDS 


101 


very  large  and  the  yellow  iris  opens  and 
closes  about  the  pupil  in  a  way  quite  simi- 
lar to  the  arrangement  in  the  cat's  eye, 
except  that  the  pupil  in  the  owl's  eye  is 
round  when  contracted  instead  of  elon- 
gated; in  the  night  this  pupil  is  expanded 
until  it  covers  most  of  the  eye.  The  owl 
does  not  need  to  see  behind  and  at  the 
sides,  since  it  does  not  belong  to  the  birds 
which  are  the  victims  of  other  birds  and 
animals  of  prey.  The  owl  is  a  bird  that 
hunts  instead  of  being  hunted,  and  it 
needs  only  to  focus  its  eyes  on  the  creature 
it  is  chasing.  Thus,  its  eyes  are  in  the  front 
of  the  head  like  our  own;  but  it  can  see 
behind,  in  case  of  need,  for  the  head  turns 
upon  the  neck  as  if  it  were  fitted  on  a  ball- 
bearing joint.  I  have  often  amused  my- 
self by  walking  around  a  captive  screech 
owl,  which  would  follow  me  with  its  eyes 
by  turning  the  head  until  it  almost  made 
the  circle;  then  the  head  would  twist  back 
with  such  lightning  rapidity  that  I  could 
hardly  detect  the  movement.  It  seemed 
almost  as  if  the  head  were  on  a  pivot  and 
could  be  moved  around  and  around  in- 
definitely. Although  the  owl,  like  the  cat, 
has  eyes  fitted  for  night  hunting,  it  can 
also  see  fairly  well  during  the  daytime. 

A  beak  with  the  upper  mandible  end- 
ing in  a  sharp  hook  signifies  that  its  owner 
lives  upon  other  animals  and  needs  to 
rend  and  tear  flesh.  The  owl's  beak  thus 
formed  is  somewhat  buried  in  the  feathers 
of  the  face,  which  gives  it  a  striking  resem- 
blance to  a  Roman  nose.  This,  with  the 
great,  staring,  round  eyes,  bestows  upon 
the  owl  an  appearance  of  great  wisdom. 
But  it  is  not  the  beak  which  the  owl  uses 
for  a  weapon  of  attack;  its  strong  feet  and 
sharp,  curved  claws  are  its  weapons  for 
striking  the  enemy  and  also  for  grappling 
with  its  prey.  The  outer  toe  can  be  moved 
back  at  will,  so  that  in  grasping  its  prey 
or  its  perch,  two  toes  may  be  directed  for- 
ward and  two  backward,  thus  giving  a 
stronger  hold. 

The  ear  is  very  different  in  form  from 
the  ear  of  other  birds;  instead  of  being  a 
mere  hole  opening  into  the  internal  ear,  it 
consists  of  a  fold  of  skin  forming  a  chan- 
nel which  extends  from  above  the  eye 


S.  A.  Grimes 

A  barn  or  monkey -faced  owl 

around  to  the  side  of  the  throat.  Thus 
equipped,  while  hunting  in  the  dark  the 
owl  is  able  to  hear  any  least  rustle  of 
mouse  or  bird  and  to  know  in  which  direc- 
tion to  descend  upon  it.  There  has  been 
no  relation  established  between  the  ear 
tufts  of  the  screech  owl  and  its  ears,  so  far 
as  I  know,  but  the  way  the  bird  lifts  the 
tufts  when  it  is  alert  always  suggests  that 
this  movement  in  some  way  opens  up  the 
ear. 

In  color  there  are  two  phases  among  the 
screech  owls,  one  reddish  brown,  the  other 
gray.  The  back  is  streaked  with  black, 
the  breast  is  marked  with  many  shaft-lines 
of  black.  The  whole  effect  of  the  owl's 
plumage  makes  it  resemble  a  branch  of  a 
tree  or  a  part  of  the  bark,  and  thus  it  is 
protected  from  prying  eyes  during  the  day- 
time when  it  is  sleeping.  Its  plumage  is 
very  fluffy  and  its  wing  feathers,  instead 
of  being  stiff  to  the  very  edge,  have  soft 
fringes  which  cushion  the  stroke  upon  the 
air.  The  owl's  flight  is,  therefore,  noiseless; 
and  the  bird  is  thus  able  to  swoop  down 
upon  its  prey  without  giving  warning  of  its 
approach. 

The  screech  owls  are  partial  to  old  ap- 
ple orchards  for  nesting  sites.  They  will 
often  use  the  abandoned  nest  of  a  wood- 
pecker; the  eggs  are  almost  as  round  as 
marbles  and  as  white  as  chalk;  it  is  well 
that  they  are  laid  within  a  dark  hole,  for 
otherwise  their  color  would  attract  the 


1O2 


ANIMALS 


S.  A.  Grimes 

The  great  horned  owl 

eyes  of  enemies.  There  are  usually  four 
eggs;  the  fubsy  little  owlets  climb  out  of 
their  home  cave  by  the  end  of  May  and 
are  the  funniest  little  creatures  imagina- 
ble. They  make  interesting  but  decidedly 
snappy  pets;  they  can  be  fed  on  insects 
and  raw  beef.  It  is  most  interesting  to  see 
one  wake  up  late  in  the  afternoon  after  its 
daytime  sleep.  All  day  it  has  sat  motion- 
less upon  its  perch  with  its  toes  completely 
covered  with  its  fluffy  feather  skirt.  Sud- 
denly its  eyes  open,  the  round  pupils  en- 
larging or  contracting  with  great  rapidity 
as  if  adjusting  themselves  to  the  amount 
of  light.  When  the  owl  winks  it  is  like  a 
moon  in  eclipse,  so  large  are  the  eyes,  and 
so  entirely  are  they  obscured  by  the  lids, 
which  seem  like  circular  curtains.  When 
it  yawns,  its  wide  bill  absurdly  resembles 
a  human  mouth,  and  the  yawn  is  very  hu- 
man in  its  expression.  It  then  stretches  its 
wings;  it  is  astonishing  how  far  this  wing 
can  be  extended  below  the  feet.  It  then 
begins  its  toilet.  It  dresses  its  feathers  with 
its  short  beak,  nibbling  industriously  in 
the  fluff;  it  scratches  its  under  parts  and 
breast  with  its  bill,  then  cleans  the  bill 
with  its  foot,  meanwhile  moving  the  head 
up  and  down  as  if  in  an  attempt  to  see  its 
surroundings  better. 

The  owls  are  loyal  lovers  and  are  said 
to  remain  mated  through  life,  the  twain 
being  very  devoted  to  their  nests  and  nest- 
lings. Sometimes  the  two  wise-looking  lit- 
tle parents  sit  together  on  the  eggs,  a  most 
happy  way  to  pass  the  wearisome  incuba- 
tion period. 

The  screech  owls  winter  in  the  north 


and  are  distinctly  foresighted  in  pre- 
paring for  winter.  They  have  often  been 
observed  catching  mice,  during  the  late 
fall,  and  placing  them  in  some  hollow  tree 
for  cold  storage,  whence  they  may  be  taken 
in  time  of  need.  Their  food  consists  to 
some  extent  of  insects,  especially  night- 
flying  moths  and  beetles,  and  also  cater- 
pillars and  grasshoppers.  However,  the 
larger  part  of  their  food  is  mice;  some- 
times small  birds  are  caught,  and  the  Eng- 
lish sparrow  is  a  frequent  victim.  Chickens 
are  rarely  taken,  except  when  small,  since 
this  owlet  is  not  as  long  as  a  robin.  It  swal- 
lows its  quarry  as  whole  as  possible,  trust- 
ing to  its  inner  organs  to  do  the  sifting  and 
selecting.  Later  it  throws  up  pellets  of  the 
indigestible  bones,  hair,  etc.  By  the  study 
of  these  pellets,  found  under  owl  roosts, 
the  scientists  have  been  able  to  determine 
the  natural  food  of  the  bird,  and  they  all 
unite  in  assuring  us  that  the  screech  owl 
does  the  farmer  much  more  good  than 
harm,  since  it  feeds  so  largely  upon  crea- 
tures which  destroy  his  crops. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  11;  Bird  Stories,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs,  by 
John  Burroughs;  Birds  in  the  Wilderness, 
by  George  M.  Sutton;  Mother  Nature 
Series,  by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor 
Troxell,  Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  Our 
Backdoor  Neighbors,  by  Frank  C.  Pellett; 
The  Pet  Boole,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock; 
also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  26 
THE  SCREECH  OWL 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  This  owl  is  espe- 
cially adapted  to  get  its  prey  at  night.  It 
feeds  largely  on  field  mice,  grasshoppers, 
caterpillars,  and  other  injurious  insects  and 
is  therefore  the  friend  of  the  farmer. 

METHOD  — This  lesson  should  begin 
when  the  children  first  hear  the  cry  of  this 
owl;  and  an  owl  in  captivity  is  a  fascinat- 
ing object  for  the  children  to  observe. 
However,  it  is  so  important  that  the  chil- 
dren learn  the  habits  of  this  owl  that  the 
teacher  is  advised  to  hinge  the  lesson  on 


BIRDS  103 

any  observation  whatever  made  by  the  pu-      laid?  What  is  their  color?  At  what  time  of 

-      -  -      year  do  the  little  owls  appear? 

9.  Where  does  the  screech  owl  spend 
the  winter?  What  do  the  screech  owls  feed 


upon?  Do  they  chew  their  food?  How  do 


pils,  and  illustrate  it  with  pictures  and 
stories. 

OBSERVATIONS— i.     Have    you    ever 
heard  the  screech  owl?  At  what  time  of 

the  day  or  night?  Why  was  this?  Why  they  get  rid  of  the  indigestible  portion  of 
does  the  owl  screech?  How  did  you  feel  their  food?  How  does  this  habit  help  sci- 
when  listening  to  the  owl's  song?  entists  to  know  the  food  of  the  owls? 

2.  Describe  the  owl's  eyes.  Are  they          10.  How  does  the  screech  owl  work  in- 
adapted  to  see  by  night?  What  changes 


take  place  in  them  to  enable  the  owl  to 
see  by  day  also?  In  what  way  are  the 
owl's  eyes  similar  to  the  cat's?  Why  is  it 
necessary  for  an  owl  to  see  at  night?  Are 
the  owl's  eyes  placed  so  that  they  can 
see  at  the  sides  like  other  birds?  How 
does  it  see  an  object  at  the  sides  or  be- 
hind it? 

3.  Note  the  owl's  beak.  For  what  pur- 
pose is  a  hooked  beak?  How  does  the  owl 
use  its  beak?  Why  do  we  think  that  the 
owl  looks  wise? 

4.  Describe  the  feet  and  claws  of  the 
screech  owl.  What  are  such  sharp  hooked 
claws  meant  for?  Does  an  owl  on  a  perch 
always  have  three  toes  directed  forward 
and  one  backward? 

5.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  screech 
owl.  Are  all  these  owls  of  the  same  color? 
How  do  these  colors  protect  the  bird  from 
its  enemies? 

6.  How  is  the  owl's  plumage  adapted  to 
silent  flight?  Why  is  silent  flight  advan- 
tageous to  this  bird? 

7.  How  does  the  owl's  ear  differ  from 
the  ears  of  other  birds?  Of  what  special  ad- 
vantage is  this?  As  the  owl  hunts  during 
the  night,  what  does  it  do  in  the  daytime? 
How  and  by  what  means  does  it  hide  it- 
self? 

8.  Where  does  the  screech  owl  make  its 
nest?  Do  you  know  anything  about  the 
devotion  of  the  parent  owls  to  each  other 
and  to  their  young?  How  many  eggs  are 


jury  to  the  farmers?  How  does  it  benefit 
them?  Does  not  the  benefit  outweigh  the 
injury? 

11.  How  many  other  kinds  of  owls  do 
you  know?  What  do  you  know  of  their 
habits? 

TWO  WISE  OWLS 

We  are  two  dusJky  owls,  and  we  live  in  a 

tree; 

Loolc  at  her,  —  look  at  me! 
Look  at  her,  —  she's  my  mate,  and  the 

mother  of  three 
Pretty  owlets,  and  we 
Have  a  warm  cosy  nest,  just  as  snug  as  can 
be. 

We  are  both  very  wise;  for  our  heads,  as 

you  see, 

(Look  at  her  —  look  at  me/) 
Are  as  large  as  the  heads  of  four  birds 

ought  to  be; 

And  our  horns,  you'll  agree. 
Make  us  loofc  wiser  still,  sitting  here  on  the 
tree. 

And  we  care  not  how  gloomy  the  night- 
time may  be; 

We  can  see, —  we  can  see; 
Through  the  forest  to  roam,  it  suits  her,  it 

suits  me; 

And  we're  free,  —  we  are  free 
To  bring  back  what  we  find,  to  our  nest 
in  the  tree. 

—  ANONYMOUS 


ANIMALS 


S.  A.  Grimes 


The  fish  hawk  or  osprey.  This  hawk  builds  its  large  nest  from  twenty  to  fifty  feet  above  the 
ground.  It  subsists  almost  entirely  on  fish 


THE  HAWKS 

Above  the  tumult  of  the  canon  lifted,  the  gray  hawk  breathless  hung, 

Or  on  the  hill  a  winged  shadow  drifted  where  furze  and  thornbush  clung. 

—  BRET  HARTE 


It  is  the  teacher's  duty  and  privilege  to 
try  to  revolutionize  some  popular  miscon- 
ceptions about  birds,  and  two  birds,  in 
great  need  in  this  respect,  are  the  so-called 
hen  hawks.  They  are  most  unjustly 
treated,  largely  because  most  farmers  con- 
sider that  a  "  hawk  is  a  hawk/'  and  should 
always  be  shot  to  save  the  poultry,  al- 
though there  is  as  much  difference  in  the 
habits  of  hawks  as  there  is  in  those  of  men. 
The  so-called  hen  hawks  are  the  red-shoul- 
dered and  the  red-tailed  species,  the  latter 
being  somewhat  the  larger  and  rarer  of 
the  two.  Both  are  very  large  birds.  The 
red-shouldered  has  cinnamon  brown 
epaulets;  the  tail  is  blackish,  crossed  by  five 
or  six  narrow  white  bars,  and  the  wing 
feathers  are  also  barred.  The  red-tailed 


species  has  dark  brown  wings;  the  feathers 
are  not  barred,  and  it  is  distinguished  by 
its  tail  which  is  brilliant  cinnamon  color 
with  a  black  bar  across  it  near  the  end;  it 
is  silvery  white  beneath.  When  the  hawk 
is  soaring,  its  tail  shows  reddish  as  it  wheels 
in  the  air.  Both  birds  are  brown  above  and 
whitish  below,  streaked  with  brown. 

The  flight  of  these  hawks  is  similar  and 
is  very  beautiful;  it  consists  of  soaring  on 
outstretched  wings  in  wide  circles  high  in 
the  air,  and  is  the  ideal  of  graceful  aerial 
motion.  In  rising,  the  bird  faces  the  wind 
and  drops  a  little  in  the  circle  as  its  back 
turns  to  the  leeward,  and  thus  it  climbs 
an  invisible  winding  stair  until  it  is  a  mere 
speck  in  the  sky.  When  the  bird  wishes  to 
drop,  it  lifts  and  holds  its  wings  above  its 


BIRDS 

back,  and  comes  down  like  a  lump  of  lead, 
only  to  catch  itself  whenever  it  chooses  to 
begin  again  to  climb  the  invisible  spiral. 
And  all  this  is  done  without  fatigue,  for 
these  birds  have  been  observed  to  soar 
thus  for  hours  together  without  coming 
to  earth.  When  thus  soaring  the  two  spe- 
cies may  be  distinguished  from  each  other 
by  their  cries;  the  red-tailed  gives  a  high 
sputtering  scream,  which  Chapman  likens 
to  the  sound  of  escaping  steam;  while  the 
red-shouldered  calls  in  a  high  not  unmusi- 
cal note  "  kee-you,  kee-you  "  or  "  tee-ur, 
tee-ur." 

The  popular  fallacy  for  the  teacher  to 
correct  about  these  birds  is  that  they  are 
enemies  of  the  farmers.  Not  until  a  hawk 
has  actually  been  seen  to  catch  chick- 
ens should  it  be  shot,  for  very  few  of  them 
are  guilty  of  this  sin.  Sixty-six  per  cent  of 
the  food  of  the  red-tailed  species  consists 
of  injurious  animals,  i.e.,  mice  and  go- 
phers, etc.,  and  only  seven  per  cent  con- 
sists of  poultry;  the  victims  are  probably 
old  or  disabled  fowls,  and  fall  an  easy  prey; 
this  bird  much  prefers  mice  and  reptiles  to 
poultry.  The  more  common  red-shoul- 


S.  A.  Grimes 


The  marsh  hawk.  This  is  a  bird  of  the  open 
fields.  It  flies  low  in  search  of  rodents,  rep- 
tiles, frogs,  and  insects.  It  may  be  identified 
by  a  white  spot  on  the  rump 


A.  A.  Allen 


Red-tailed  hawk 


dered  hawk  feeds  generally  on  mice, 
snakes,  frogs,  fish,  and  is  very  fond  of  grass- 
hoppers. Ninety  per  cent  of  its  food  con- 
sists of  creatures  which  injure  our  crops  or 
pastures  and  scarcely  one  and  one-half  per 
cent  is  made  up  of  poultry  and  game. 
These  facts  have  been  ascertained  by  the 
experts  in  the  Department  of  Agriculture 
at  Washington  who  have  examined  the 
stomachs  of  hundreds  of  these  hawks 
taken  from  different  localities.  Further- 
more, Dr.  Fisher  states  that  a  pair  of  the 
red-shouldered  hawks  bred  for  successive 
years  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  a  poul- 
try farm  containing  800  young  chickens 
and  400  ducks,  and  the  owner  never  saw 
them  attempt  to  catch  a  fowl. 

However,  there  are  certain  species  of 
hawks  which  are  to  be  feared;  these  are 
the  Cooper's  hawk  and  the  sharp-shinned 
hawk,  the  first  being  very  destructive  to 
poultry  and  the  latter  killing  many  wild 
birds.  These  are  both  somewhat  smaller 
than  the  species  we  are  studying.  They 
are  both  dark  gray  above  and  have  very 
long  tails,  and  when  flying  they  flap  their 
wings  for  a  time  and  then  glide  a  distance. 
They  do  not  soar  on  motionless  outspread 
pinions  by  the  hour. 

When  hawks  are  seen  soaring,  they  are 
likely  to  be  hunting  for  mice  in  the  mead- 
ows below  them.  Their  eyes  are  remarka- 
bly keen;  they  can  see  a  moving  creature 
from  a  great  height,  and  can  suddenly 
drop  upon  it  like  a  thunderbolt  out  of  a 
clear  sky.  Their  wonderful  eyes  are  far- 
sighted  when  they  are  circling  in  the  sky, 


BIRDS  OF  PREY  AND  SCAVENGERS 


1.  SPARROW    HAWKS.    In    summer    these 
birds   will    be  found  from   northern    Canada 
south  to  the  Gulf  states  except  in  peninsular 
Florida  and   the   arid  regions  of  the  South- 
west; in  winter  from  the  northern  United  States 
to  Panama.  About  eleven  inches  in  length,  this 
pretty  little  hawk  has  readily  adapted  itself  to 
civilization   and    in    densely   populated  areas 
makes  its  nest  about  buildings  and  even  in  bird- 
houses.  The  sparrow  hawk  should  be  protected 
everywhere,  for  it  is  useful  to  man;  it  feeds 
chiefly  on  mice  and  insects.  (Photo  by  Doro- 
thy M.  Compton) 

2.  SNOWY  OWL.  One  of  the  largest  and  most 
handsome  of  owls,  the  snowy  owl,  is  at  home  in 
the  northern  part  of  the  Northern  Hemisphere; 
it  breeds  as  far  north  as  land  is  found  and  as  far 
south  as  northern  Quebec,  Manitoba,  and  British 
Columbia.  In  winter  it  migrates  southward  in 
search  of  food  if  mice  and  lemmings  become 
scarce  in  the  North.  In  North  America  the  winter 
range  may  extend  as  far  south  as  the  Gulf  states, 
in  Europe  as  far  south  as  France  and  Switzer- 
land, and  in  Asia  to  northern  India  and  Japan. 
This  owl  is  seldom  seen  in  trees,  preferring  the 
open   country,    probably    because   the   rodents 
which  are  its  principal  food  are  found  there. 
(Photo  by  Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr.) 

3.  A  YOUNG  SCREECH  OWL.  The  range  of 
these  birds  extends  from  southern  Canada  to 
the  southern   United  States.    They  breed  over 
most  of  this  area.  The  screech  owl  is  not  quite 
so  long  as  a  robin.  It  often  nests  in  a  small 
cavity  in  a  tree  or  even  in  a  birdhouse.  It  is 
not  unusual  for  the  owl  to  use  the  same  nesting 
place  year  after  year.  It  feeds  largely  on  mice, 
other  small  mammals,  insects,  and  small  birds. 
This  owl  is  unique  in  that  it  has  two  color 
phases;  both  male  and  female  may  be  either  gray 
or  reddish  brown.  (Photo  by  Dorothy  M.  Comp* 
ton) 


4.  HERRING  GULL.    These  birds  are  scav- 
engers found    along    the    coasts    and    inland 
waters    of    the    Northern    Hemisphere.    They 
nest  in  colonies,  usually  on  islands  but  always 
near  the  water.   The  nest  of  seaweed,  grasses, 
or  moss  is  generally  built  on  the  ground.  Flocks 
of  herring  gulls  are  often  seen  near  piers  and 
wharves  where  they  perform  a  valuable  service 
by  feeding  on  garbage  and  refuse.  It  is  generally 
this  bird  that  follows  coastwise  boats  waiting 
for  refuse  to  be  thrown  overboard.   (Photo  by 
Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr.) 

5.  AN  ADULT  SCREECH  OWL.  Perched  in  a 
tree,  the  screech  owl  is  difficult  to  detect,  for 
he  is  easily  mistaken  for  branches  and  leaves. 
(Photo  by  A.  A.  Allen) 

6.  A  BLACK  VULTURE  AT  THE  ENTRANCE 
TO  ITS  NEST.  This  is  a  scavenger  of  the  South. 
Though  it  rarely  breeds  north  of  Maryland, 
it  is  occasionally  seen  in  some  of  the  central 
states.   The  value  of  these  birds  in  removing 
health-menacing   garbage    and    carrion    is    so 
great  that  they  are  protected  by  law  and  public 
sentiment.    They   are   quite   numerous   in   the 
South  and  are  often  seen  in  towns  and  cities. 
The  black  vulture  does  not  build  a  nest;  the 
eggs  are  laid  in  cavities  in  trees  or  rocks,  in 
hollow  stumps,  or  on  the  ground  beneath  bushes. 
(Photo  by  S.A.  Grimes') 

7.  AUDUBON'S  CAR  AC  ABA.  This  bird's  usual 
range  is  from  Lower  California,  Arizona,  Texas, 
and  southern  Florida  southward  to  Ecuador; 
it  has  been  reported  as  an  accidental  visitor  as 
far  north  as  Ontario.  The  nest  is  a  bulky  struc- 
ture of  sticks,  branches,  roots,  grass,  and  leaveSj 
usually  placed  in  trees  or  on  bushes  or  ledges. 
Caracaras  are  often  seen  in  the  company  of 
vultures,  feeding   on   carrion,    and   they   also 
capture  and  eat  snakes,  frogs,  and  lizards.  The 
caracara's  flight  is  direct  and  rapid,  not  at  all 
like  that  of  the  vulture,  which  sails  and  soars  in 
spirals.  (Photo  by  S.  A.  Grimes) 


io8 


ANIMALS 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Nest  and  eggs  of  the  marsh  hawk 

but  as  they  drop,  the  focus  of  the  eyes 
changes  automatically  with  great  rapid- 
ity, so  that  by  the  time  they  reach  the 
earth  they  are  nearsighted,  a  feat  quite 
impossible  for  our  eyes  unless  aided  by 
glasses  or  telescope. 

These  so-called  hen  hawks  will  often  sit 
motionless,  for  hours  at  a  time,  on  some 
dead  branch  or  dead  tree;  they  are  proba- 
bly watching  for  something  eatable  to  stir 
within  the  range  of  their  keen  vision. 
When  seizing  its  prey,  a  hawk  uses  its 
strong  feet  and  sharp,  curved  talons.  All 
hawks  have  sharp  and  polished  claws,  even 
as  the  warrior  has  a  keen,  bright  sword;  the 
legs  are  covered  by  a  growth  of  feathers 
extending  down  from  above,  looking  like 
feather  trousers.  The  beak  is  hooked  and 
very  sharp  and  is  used  for  tearing  apart 
the  flesh  of  the  quarry.  When  a  hawk 
fights  some  larger  animal  or  man,  it 
throws  itself  over  upon  its  back  and  strikes 
its  assailant  with  its  strong  claws  as  well 
as  with  its  beak;  but  the  talons  are  its  chief 
weapons. 

Both  species  build  a  large,  shallow  nest 
of  coarse  sticks  and  grass,  lined  with  moss, 
feathers,  etc.;  it  is  a  rude,  rough  structure, 
and  is  placed  in  tall  trees  from  fifty  to 
sfeventy-five  feet  from  the  ground.  Only 
two  to  four  eggs  are  laid;  these  are  whitish, 
spotted  with  brown.  These  hawks  are  said 
to  remain  mated  for  life  and  are  devoted 


to  each  other  and  to  their  young.  Hawks 
and  eagles  are  very  similar  in  form  and 
habits,  and  if  the  eagle  is  a  noble  bird,  so 
is  the  hawk. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflets  8,  9,  10,  37,  82,  122;  Bird  Stories 
from  Burroughs,  by  John  Burroughs;  Food 
Habits  of  Common  Hawlcs,  by  W.  L. 
McAtee  (U.  S.  Department  of  Agricul- 
ture, Circular  370);  The  Hawlcs  of  North 
America,  by  John  B.  May;  Our  Backdoor 
Neighbors,  by  Frank  C.  Pellett;  also,  read- 
ings on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  27 
THE  HAWKS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Uninformed  peo- 
ple consider  all  hawks  dangerous  neigh- 
bors because  they  are  supposed  to  feed 
exclusively  on  poultry.  This  idea  is  false 
and  we  should  study  carefully  the  habits 
of  hawks  before  we  shoot  them.  The  ordi- 
nary large  reddish  "  hen  hawks,"  which 
circle  high  above  meadows,  are  doing  great 
good  to  the  farmer  by  feeding  upon  the 
mice  and  other  creatures  which  steal  his 
grain  and  girdle  his  trees. 

METHOD  —  Begin  by  observations  on 
the  flight  of  one  of  these  hawks  and  sup- 
plement this  with  such  observations  as  the 
pupils  are  able  to  make,  or  facts  which 
they  can  discover  by  talking  with  hunters 
or  others,  and  by  reading. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  How  can  you  tell  a 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Young  marsh  hawks 


BIRDS 


109 


hawk,  when  flying,  from  a  crow  or  other 
large  bird?  Describe  how  it  soars.  Does 
it  move  off  in  any  direction?  If  so,  does  it 
move  off  in  circles?  How  often  does  it 
make  strokes  with  its  wings?  Does  it  rise 
when  it  is  facing  the  wind  and  fall  as  it 
turns  its  back  to  the  wind? 

2.  Have  you  seen  a  hawk  flap  its  wings 
many  times  and  then  soar  for  a  time?  If 
so,  what  hawk  do  you  think  it  was?  How 
does  it  differ  in  habits  from  the  "hen 
hawks  "? 

3.  Have  you  noticed  a  hawk  when  soar- 
ing drop  suddenly  to  earth?  If  so,  why  did 
it  do  this? 

4.  How  does  a  hawk  hunt?  How,  when 
it  is  so  high  in  the  air  that  it  looks  like  a 
circling  speck  in  the  sky,  can  it  see  a  mouse 
in  a  meadow?  If  it  is  so  farsighted  as 
this,  how  can  it  be  nearsighted  enough  to 
catch  the  mouse  when  it  is  close  to  it? 
Would  you  not  have  to  use  field  glasses 
or  telescope  to  do  this? 

5.  When  a  hawk  alights  what  sort  of 
place  does  it  choose?  How  does  it  act? 

6.  Do  hawks  seize  their  prey  with  their 
claws  or  their  beaks?  What  sort  of  feet 
and  claws  has  the  hawk?  Describe  the 
beak.  What  do  you  think  a  beak  of  this 
shape  is  meant  for? 

7.  Why  do  people  shoot  hawks?  Why 
is  it  a  mistake  for  people  to  wish  to  shoot 
all  hawks? 

8.  What  is  the  food  of  the  red-shoul- 
dered hawk  as  shown  by  the  bulletin  of 
the  U.S.  Department  of  Agriculture  or  by 
the  Audubon  leaflets? 


9.  Where  does  the  hawk  place  its  nest? 
Of  what  does  it  build  its  nest? 

10.  Compare  the  food  and  the  nesting 
habits   of   the   red-shouldered   and   red- 
tailed  hawks? 

1 1 .  How  devoted  are  the  hawks  to  their 
mates  and  to  their  young?  Does  a  hawk, 
having  lost  its  mate,  live  alone  ever  after? 

12.  Describe   the   colors   of   the  hen 
hawks  and  describe  how  you  can  tell  the 
two  species  apart  by  the  colors  and  mark- 
ings of  the  tail. 

13.  What  is  the  cry  of  the  hawk?  How 
can  you  tell  the  two  species  apart  by  this 
cry?   Does  the  hawk  give  its  cry  only  when 
on  the  wing? 

14.  Why  should  an  eagle  be  considered 
so  noble  a  bird  and  the  hawk  be  so 
scorned?  What  difference  is  there  be- 
tween them  in  habits? 

Yet,  ere  the  noon,  as  brass  the  heaven 

turns, 

The  cruel  sun  smites  with  unerring  aim, 
The  sight  and  touch  of  all  things  blinds 

and  burns, 

And  bare,  hot  hills  seem  shimmering 
into  flame! 

On  outspread  wings  a  hawk,  far  poised  on 

high, 
Quick  swooping  screams,  and  then  is 

heard  no  more: 

The  strident  shrilling  of  a  locust  nigh 
Breaks  forth,  and  dies  in  silence  as  be- 
fore. 
—  "  SUMMER  DROUGHT,"  J.  P.  IRVINE 


THE  SWALLOWS  AND  THE  CHIMNEY  SWIFT 


These  friendly  little  birds  spend  their 
time  darting  through  the  air  on  swift 
wings,  seeking  and  destroying  insects 
which  are  foes  to  us  and  to  our  various 
crops.  However,  it  is  safe  to  assume  that 
they  are  not  thinking  of  us  as  they  skim 
above  our  meadows  and  ponds,  hawking 
our  tiny  foes;  for  like  most  of  us,  they  are 
simply  intent  upon  getting  a  living. 
Would  that  we  might  perform  this  nec- 
essary duty  as  gracefully  as  they! 


In  general,  the  swallows  have  a  long, 
slender,  graceful  body,  with  a  long  tail 
which  is  forked  or  notched,  except  in  the 
case  of  the  eave  swallow.  The  beak  is  short 
but  wide  where  it  joins  the  head;  this  en- 
ables the  bird  to  open  its  mouth  wide  and 
gives  it  more  scope  in  the  matter  of  catch- 
ing insects;  the  swift  flight  of  the  swallows 
enables  them  to  catch  insects  on  the  wing. 
Their  legs  are  short,  the  feet  are  weak  and 
fitted  for  perching;  it  would  be  quite  im- 


no 


ANIMALS 


L.  A.  Fuertes 

Swallows  and  swifts 

possible  for  a  swallow  to  walk  or  hop  like 
a  robin  or  blackbird. 

THE  EAVE  OR  CLIFF  SWALLOWS  — 
These  swallows  build  under  the  eaves  of 
barns  or  in  similar  locations.  In  early  times 
they  built  against  the  sides  of  cliffs;  but 
when  man  came  and  built  barns,  they 
chose  them  for  their  dwelling  sites.  The 
nest  is  made  of  mud  pellets  and  is  some- 
what globular  in  shape,  with  an  entrance 
at  one  side.  When  the  nest  is  on  the  side 
of  a  cliff  or  in  an  unprotected  portion  of 
a  barn,  a  covered  passage  is  built  around 
the  door,  which  gives  the  nest  the  shape 
of  a  gourd  or  retort;  but  when  protected 
beneath  the  eaves  the  birds  seem  to  think 


this  vestibule  is  unnecessary.  The  mud 
nest  is  warmly  lined  with  feathers  and  soft 
materials,  and  often  there  are  many  nests 
built  so  closely  together  that  they  touch. 
The  eave  swallow  comes  north  about  May 
i,  and  soon  after  that  may  be  seen  along 
streams  or  other  damp  places  gathering 
mud  for  the  nests.  It  seems  necessary  for 
the  bird  to  find  clay  mud  in  order  to  ren- 
der the  nest  strong  enough  to  support  the 
eggs  and  nestlings.  The  eggs  are  white, 
blotched  with  reddish  brown.  The  parents 
cling  to  the  edge  of  the  nest  when  feeding 


A.  A.  Allen 


Nests  of  cliff  swallows 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Barn  swallow  and  nest 

the  young.  Both  the  barn  and  eave  swal- 
lows are  blue  above,  but  the  eave  swallow 
has  the  forehead  cream  white  and  the 
rump  of  pale  brick-red,  and  its  tail  is 
square  across  the  end  as  seen  in  flight.  The 
bam  swallow  has  a  chestnut  forehead  and 
its  outer  tail  feathers  are  long,  making  a 
distinct  fork  during  flight,  and  it  is  not  red 
upon  the  rump. 

THE  BARN  SWALLOWS  —  These  birds 
choose  a  bam  where  there  is  a  hole  in  the 
gable  or  where  the  doors  are  kept  open  all 
the  time.  They  build  upon  beams  or  raf- 
ters, making  a  cup-shaped  nest  of  layers  of 
pellets  of  mud,  with  grass  between;  it  is 
well  lined  with  feathers.  The  nest  is  usu- 
ally the  shape  of  half  of  a  shallow  cup 
which  has  been  cut  in  two  lengthwise,  the 


BIRDS 

cut  side  being  plastered  against  the  side  of 
the  rafter.  Sometimes  the  nests  are  more 
or  less  supported  upon  a  beam  or  rafter; 
the  eggs  are  white  and  dotted  with  reddish 
brown.  The  barn  swallows,  aside  from 
their  constant  twittering,  have  also  a 
pretty  song.  Both  parents  work  at  build- 
ing the  nest  and  feeding  the  young;  there 
are  likely  to  be  several  pairs  nesting  in  the 
same  building.  The  parents  continue  to 
feed  the  young  long  after  they  have  left 
the  nest;  often  a  whole  family  may  be  seen 
sitting  on  a  telegraph  wire  or  wire  fence, 
the  parents  still  feeding  the  well-grown 
youngsters.  This  species  comes  north  in 


This  barn  swallow's  nest  is  well  feathered 

the  latter  part  of  April  and  leaves  early  in 
September.  It  winters  as  far  south  as 
Brazil. 

The  barn  swallow  has  a  distinctly  tailor- 
made  appearance;  its  red-brown  vest  and 
iridescent  blue  coat,  with  deeply  forked 
"  coat  tails "  give  it  an  elegance  of  style 
which  no  other  bird,  not  even  the  chic 
cedar  waxwing,  can  emulate. 

THE  BANK  SWALLOW  —  When  we  see  a 
sandy  bank  apparently  shot  full  of  holes  as 
by  small  cannon  balls,  we  may  know  that 
we  have  found  a  tenement  of  bank  swal- 
lows. These  birds  always  choose  the  per- 
pendicular banks  of  creeks  or  of  railroad 
cuts  or  of  sand  pits  for  their  nesting  sites; 
they  require  a  soil  sufficiently  soft  to  be 
tunneled  by  their  weak  feet,  and  yet  not 
so  loose  as  to  cave  in  upon  the  nest.  The 
tunnel  may  extend  from  one  to  four  feet 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

The  band  of  color  across  the  breast  is  the  dis- 
tinguishing mark  of  the  bank  swallow 

horizontally  in  the  bank  with  just  enough 
diameter  to  admit  the  body  of  the  rather 
small  bird.  The  nest  is  situated  at  the 
extreme  end  of  the  tunnel  and  is  lined 
with  soft  feathers  and  grasses. 

The  bank  swallows  arrive  late  in  April 
and  leave  early  in  September.  They  may 
be  distinguished  from  the  other  species  by 
their  grayish  color  above;  the  throat  and 
breast  are  white  with  a  broad,  brownish 
band  across  the  breast;  .-the  tail  is  slightly 
forked.  The  rough-winged  swallow,  which 
is  similar  in  habits  to  the  bank  swallow, 
may  be  distinguished  from  it  by  its  gray 
breast  which  has  no  dark  band. 

THE  TREE  SWALLOW  —  This  graceful 
little  bird  builds  naturally  in  holes  in  trees, 
but  readily  accepts  a  box  if  it  is  provided. 
It  begins  to  build  soon  after  it  comes 
north  in  late  April,  and  it  is  well  for  us 
to  encourage  the  tree  swallows  to  live  near 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Nesting  site  of  a  colony  of  bank  swallows 


112 


ANIMALS 


George  Fiske,  Jr. 

A  tree  swallow 

our  houses  by  building  houses  for  them 
and  driving  away  the  English  sparrows. 
The  tree  swallows  live  upon  many  insects 
which  annoy  us  and  injure  our  gardens 
and  damage  our  orchards;  they  are,  there- 
fore, much  more  desirable  neighbors  than 
the  English  sparrows.  The  tree  swallows 
congregate  in  great  numbers  for  the  south- 
ern migration  very  early  in  the  season. 


often  in  early  August.  They  are  likely  to 
congregate  in  marshes,  as  are  also  the 
other  swallows.  In  color  the  tree  swallow 
has  a  green  metallic  back  and  head,  and 
a  pure  white  breast  with  no  band  across 
it;  these  peculiarities  distinguish  it  from 
all  other  species. 

THE  PURPLE  MARTIN  —  The  martin  is 
a  larger  bird  than  any  other  swallow,  be- 
ing eight  inches  in  length,  while  the  barn 
swallow  does  not  measure  quite  seven. 
The  male  is  shining,  steel-blue  above  and 
below;  the  female  is  brownish  above,  has 
a  gray  throat,  brownish  breast  and  is  white 
beneath.  The  martins  originally  nested  in 
hollow  trees  but  for  centuries  have  been 
cared  for  by  man.  The  Indians  were  wont 
to  put  out  empty  gourds  for  them  to  nest 
in;  and  as  soon  as  America  was  settled  by 
Europeans,  martin  boxes  were  built  ex- 


A.  A.  Allen 


Nest  of  chimney  swifts 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Two  bank  swallows  at  the  entrances  to  their 
burrows 


tensively.  But  when  the  English  sparrows 
came,  they  took  possession  of  the  boxes, 
and  the  martins  have  to  a  large  extent  dis- 
appeared; this  is  a  pity  since  they  are  bene- 
ficial birds,  feeding  upon  insects  which 
are  injurious  to  our  farms  and  gardens. 
They  are  also  delightful  birds  to  have 
around,  and  we  may  possibly  induce  them 
to  come  back  to  us  by  building  houses 
for  them  and  driving  away  the  sparrows. 

THE  CHIMNEY  SWIFT 

When  the  old-fashioned  fireplaces 
went  out  of  use  and  were  walled  up,  leav- 
ing the  great  old  chimneys  useless,  these 
sociable  birds  took  possession  of  them. 


BIRDS 


113 


Here  they  built  their  nests  and  reared  their 
young,  and  twittered  and  scrambled  about, 
awakened  all  sleepers  in  the  neighbor- 
hood at  earliest  dawn,  and  in  many  ways 
made  themselves  a  distinct  part  of  family 
life.  With  the  disappearance  of  these  old 
chimneys  and  the  growing  use  of  the 
smaller  chimney,  the  swifts  have  been 
more  or  less  driven  from  their  close  asso- 
ciation with  people;  and  now  their  nests 
are  often  found  in  hay  barns  or  other 
secluded  buildings,  although  they  still 
gather  in  chimneys  when  opportunity 
offers. 

The  chimney  swifts  originally  built 
nests  in  hollow  trees  and  caves;  but  with 
the  coming  of  civilization  they  took  pos- 
session of  the  chimneys  disused  during  the 
summer,  and  here  is  where  we  know  them 
best.  The  nests  are  shaped  like  little  wall 
pockets;  they  are  made  of  small  sticks  of 
nearly  uniform  size  which  are  glued  to- 
gether and  glued  fast  to  the  chimney  wall 
by  means  of  the  saliva  secreted  in  the 
mouth  of  the  bird.  After  the  nesting  sea- 
son, the  swifts  often  gather  in  great  flocks 
and  live  together  in  some  large  chimney; 
toward  nightfall  they  may  be  seen  cir- 
cling about  in  great  numbers  and  drop- 
ping into  the  mouth  of  the  chimney,  one 
by  one,  as  if  they  were  being  poured  into 
a  funnel.  In  the  morning  they  leave  in 
reverse  manner,  each  swift  flying  about 
in  widening  circles  as  it  leaves  the  chim- 
ney. The  swifts  are  never  seen  to  alight 
anywhere  except  in  hollow  trees  or  chim- 
neys or  similar  places;  their  tiny  feet  have 
sharp  claws  for  clinging  to  the  slightest 
roughness  of  the  upright  wall;  the  tail 
acts  as  a  prop,  each  tail  feather  ending  in 
a  spine  which  is  pressed  against  the  chim- 
ney side  when  the  bird  alights,  thus 
enabling  it  to  cling  more  firmly.  In  this 
fashion  the  swifts  roost,  practically  hung 
up  against  a  wall. 

The  swift  has  a  short  beak  and  wide 
mouth  which  it  opens  broadly  to  engulf 
insects  as  it  darts  through  the  air.  Chim- 
ney swifts  have  been  known  to  travel  at  the 
rate  of  no  miles  an  hour. 

This  bird  should  never  be  confused 
with  the  swallows,  for  when  flying,  its 


tail  seems  simply  a  sharp  point,  making  the 
whole  body  cigar-shaped.  This  character- 
istic alone  distinguishes  it  from  the  long- 
tailed  swallows.  In  color  it  is  sooty  brown, 
with  a  gray  throat  and  breast;  the  wings 
are  long  and  narrow  and  apparently 
curved.  The  manner  of  flight  and  appear- 
ance in  the  air  make  it  resemble  the  bat 
more  than  it  does  the  swallow. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflets  13,  32,  33,  and  49;  Bird  Stories, 
by  Edith  M.  Patch  (Cliff  Swallow);  Bird 
Stories  from  Burroughs,  by  John  Bur- 
roughs (Chimney  Swift) ;  First  Lessons  in 
Nature  Study,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  (Cliff 
Swallow,  Bank  Swallow);  Holiday  Pond, 
by  Edith  M.  Patch  (Bank  Swallow);  Na- 
ture and  Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch  and  Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  i, 
Hunting  (Bank  Swallow),  Book  2,  Out- 
door Visits  (Bank  Swallow,  Tree  Swal- 
low), Book  3,  Surprises  (Tree  Swallow), 
Book  5,  Science  at  Home  (Cliff  Swallow) ; 
also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  28 
THE  SWALLOWS  AND  SWIFTS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  swallows  are 
very  graceful  birds  and  are  exceedingly 
swift  fliers.  They  feed  upon  insects  which 
they  catch  upon  the  wing.  There  are  five 
native  swallows  which  are  common  —  the 
eave,  or  cliff,  the  barn,  the  bank,  the  tree 
swallow,  and  the  purple  martin.  The 
chimney  swift,  although  often  called  so, 
is  not  a  swallow;  it  is  more  nearly  related 
to  the  hummingbird  than  to  the  swallows. 

METHOD  — The  questions  should  be 
given  as  an  outline  for  observation,  and 
may  be  written  on  the  blackboard  or 
placed  in  the  field  notebook.  The  pupils 
should  answer  them  individually  and 
from  field  observation.  We  s.:udy  the 
swifts  and  swallows  together  to  teach  the 
pupils  to  distinguish  them  apart. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  What  is  the  gen- 
eral shape  of  the  swallow?  What  is  the 
color  of  the  forehead,  throat,  upper  breast, 
neck,  rump,  and  tail? 

2.  Is  the  tail  noticeably  forked,  espe- 
cially during  flight? 


ANIMALS 


Leonard  K.  Beyer1 

Nest  of  bank  swallows.  The  bank  has  been 
cut  away  so  that  the  nest  and  eggs  could  be 
photographed 

3.  Describe  the  flight  of  the  swallow. 
What  are  the  purposes  of  its  long,  swift 
flight?  How  are  the  swallow's  wings  fitted 
for  carrying  the  bird  swiftly? 

4.  Describe  the  form  of  the  beak  of 
the  swallow.  How  does  it  get  its  food? 
What  is  its  food? 

5.  In    what    particular    locations    do 
you    see    the    swallows    darting    about? 
At  what  time  of  day  do  they  seem  most 
active? 

6.  Describe  the  swallow's  legs  and  feet 
and  explain  why  they  look  so  different 
from  those  of  the  robin  and  blackbird. 

THE  EAVE  OR  CLIFF  SWALLOW 

7.  Where  do  the  eave  swallows  build 
their  nests?  Of  what  material  is  the  out- 
side? The  lining?  Describe  the  shape  of 
the  nest  and  how  it  is  supported. 

8.  How  early  in  the  spring  do  the  eave 
swallows    begin    to    make    their    nests? 
Where  and  by  what  means  do  they  get 
the  material  for  nest  building?  Are  there 
a  number  of  nests  usually  grouped  to- 
gether? 

9.  Describe    the   eave   swallow's    egg. 
Where  do  the  parents  sit  when  feeding 
the  young?  What  is  the  note  of  the  eave 
swallow? 

10.  What  are  the  differences  between 


the  barn  and  the  eave  swallow  in  color 
and  shape  of  tail? 

THE  BARN  SWALLOW 

11.  Where  does  the  barn  swallow  place 
its  nest?  What  is  the  shape  of  the  nest? 
Of  what  material  is  it  made? 

12.  What  is  the  color  of  the  eggs?  De- 
scribe the  feeding  of  the  young  and  the 
sounds  made  by  them  and  their  parents. 
Do  both  parents  work  together  to  build 
the  nest  and  feed  the  young? 

13.  Is  there  usually  more  than  one  nest 
in  the  same  locality?  When  the  young 
swallows  are  large  enough  to  leave  the 
nest,  describe  how  the  parents  continue 
to  care  for  them. 

14.  Have  you  ever  heard  the  barn  swal- 
lows sing?  Describe  their  conversational 
notes. 

15.  When  do  the  barn  swallows  mi- 
grate and  where  do  they  go  during  the 
winter?  How  can  you  distinguish  the  barn 
swallow  from  the  eave  swallow? 

THE  BANK  SWALLOW 

16.  Where  do  the  bank  swallows  build? 
What  sort  of  soil  do  they  choose? 

17.  How  does  a  bank  which  is  tenanted 
by  these  birds  look? 

18.  How   far   do    the   bank    swallows 
tunnel  into  the  earth?  What  is  the  di- 
ameter of  one  of  these  tunnels?  Do  they 
extend  straight  or  do  they  rise  or  deflect? 


A.  A.  Allen 

Nest  and  eggs  of  tree  swallows 


BIRDS 

19.  With  what  tools  is  the  tunnel  exca- 
vated? Where  is  the  nest  situated  in  the 
tunnel  and  how  is  it  lined? 


115 


25.  Where  did  the  martins  build  their 
nests  before  America  was  civilized? 
Where  do  thev  like  to  nest  now?  How  do 


20.  How  can  you  distinguish  this  spe-      the  purple  martins  benefit  us  and  how 
cies  from  the  barn  and  eave  and  tree 
swallows?  At  what  time  do  the  bank  swal- 
lows leave  us  for  migration  south? 


THE  TREE  SWALLOW 

21.  Where  does  the  tree  swallow  make 
its  nest?  How  does  its  nest  differ  from 
that  of  the  barn?  eave,  or  bank  swallow? 
When  does  it  begin  to  build? 

22.  How  can  we  encourage  the  tree 
swallow  to  build  near  our  houses?  Why 
is  the  tree  swallow  a  much  more  desirable 
bird  to  have  in  birdhouses  than  the  Eng- 
lish sparrow? 

23.  Describe    the    peculiar    migrating 
habits  of  the  tree  swallow.  How  can  you 
tell  this  species  from  the  barn,  the  eave, 
and  the  bank  swallows? 

THE  PURPLE  MARTIN 

24.  Compare  the  purple  martin  with 
the  swallows  and  describe  how  it  differs  in 
size  and  color. 


can  wre  induce  them  to  come  to  us? 

THE  CHIMNEY  SWIFT 

26.  Where    do    the    chimney    swifts 
build  their  nests?  Of  what  materials  is  the 
nest  made?  What  is  its  shape  and  how  is 
it  supported?  Where  does  the  chimney 
swift  get  the  glue  which  it  uses  for  nest 
building? 

27.  Describe  how  the  chimney  swifts 
enter  their  nesting  place  at  night.  Where 
and  how  do  they  perch?  Describe  the 
shape  of  the  swift's  tail  and  its  use  to  the 
bird  when  roosting. 

28.  On  what  does  the  chimney  swift 
feed  and  how  does  it  procure  this  food? 
Describe  how  its  beak  is  especially  fitted 
for  this. 

29.  How  can  you  distinguish  the  chim- 
ney swift  from  the  swallows?  In  what  re- 
spect does  the  chimney  swift  resemble  the 
swallows?  In  what  respects  does  it  differ 
from  them? 


THE  HUMMINGBIRD 


Formerly  it  was  believed  that  this  dain- 
tiest of  birds  found  the  nectar  of  flowers 
ample  support  for  its  active  life;  but  the 
later  methods  of  discovering  what  birds 
eat  by  examining  the  contents  of  their 
stomachs,  show  that  the  hummingbird  is 
an  insect  eater  of  most  ravenous  appetite. 
Not  only  does  it  catch  insects  in  mid 
air,  but  undoubtedly  takes  them  while 
they  are  feasting  on  the  nectar  of  the 
tubular  flowers  which  the  hummingbird 
loves  to  visit.  Incidentally,  the  humming- 
bird carries  some  pollen  for  these  flowers 
and  may  be  counted  as  a  friend  in  every 
respect,  since  usually  the  insects  in  the 
nectaries  of  those  flowers  with  long  tubu- 
lar corollas  are  stealing  nectar  without 
giving  in  return  any  compensation  to  the 
flower  by  carrying  its  pollen.  Such  insects 
may  be  the  smaller  beetles,  ants,  and  flies. 


The  adaptations  of  the  hummingbird's 
beak  and  long,  double-tubed  tongue,  are 
especially  for  securing  this  mingled  diet 
of  insects  and  nectar.  It  is  interesting  to 
note  that  the  young  hummingbirds  have 
the  beak  much  shorter  than  the  mature 
birds.  The  hummingbird's  beak  is  exactly 
fitted  to  probe  those  flowers  where  the 
bird  finds  its  food.  The  tongue  has  the 
outer  edges  curved  over,  making  a  tube  on 
each  side.  These  tubes  are  provided  with 
minute  brushes  at  the  tips  and  thus  are 
fitted  both  for  sucking  nectar  and  for 
sweeping  up  the  insects. 

The  natural  home  of  the  hummingbird 
seems  to  have  been  in  the  American  trop- 
ics. The  male  of  our  one  species  east  of 
the  Rocky  Mountains  has  a  ruby  throat. 
This  bird  comes  to  us  after  a  very  long 
journey  each  year.  One  species  on  the  Pa- 


n6 


ANIMALS 

The  nest  of  the  hummingbird  is  a 
most  exquisite  structure;  it  is  about  three- 
fourths  of  an  inch  in  diameter  on  the  in- 
side and  about  half  an  inch  deep.  It  is, 
in  shape,  a  symmetrical  cup;  the  outside 
is  covered  with  lichens,  so  that  it  exactly 
resembles  the  branch  on  which  it  rests; 
the  inside  is  lined  with  the  down  of  plant 
seeds  and  plant  fibers.  The  lichens  are 
often  fastened  to  the  outside  with  the 


A.  A.  Allen 

Ruby -throated  hummingbird  turning  her 
eggs 

cific  Coast  is  known  to  travel  three  thou- 
sand miles  to  the  north  for  the  summer 
and  back  again  in  winter. 

Hummingbirds  are  not  supposed  to 
sing,  but  to  use  their  voices  for  squeak- 
ing when  angry  or  frightened.  However,  I 
once  had  the  privilege  of  listening  to  a 
true  song  by  a  hummingbird  on  the  Pacific 
Coast.  The  midget  was  perched  upon  a 
twig  and  lifted  up  his  voice  with  every 
appearance  of  ecstasy  in  pouring  forth  his 
lay.  To  my  uncultured  ear  this  song  was 
a  fine,  shrill,  erratic  succession  of  squeaks, 
"  as  fine  as  a  cambric  needle/'  said  my 
companion. 


©  General  Biological  Supply  House,  Chicago 

Two  young  hummingbirds.  They  remain  in 
nest  for  about  three  weeks 


©  General  Biological  Supply  House,  Chicago 

Not  much  larger  than  a  walnut,  the  hum- 
mingbird's nest  looks  like  a  knot  on  a  branch 

silk  web  of  spiders  or  caterpillars.  The  nest 
is  usually  saddled  on  a  branch  of  a  tree 
from  ten  to  fifty  feet  above  the  ground. 
The  eggs  are  two  in  number  and  white; 
they  look  like  tiny  beans.  The  young  are 
black  and  look,  at  first  glance,  more  like 
insects  than  like  birds. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  56;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell, 
Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  Nature  and 
Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and 
Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  i,  Hunting, 
Book  5,  Science  at  Home;  also,  readings 
on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  29 
THE  HUMMINGBIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  humming- 
bird in  flight  moves  its  wings  so  rapidly 
that  we  cannot  see  them.  It  can  hold  itself 
poised  above  flowers  while  it  thrusts  its 
long  beak  into  them  for  nectar  and  in- 
sects. 

METHOD  —  Give  the  questions  to  the 


BIRDS 

pupils  and  let  them  make  the  observations 
when  they  have  the  opportunity. 

OBSERVATIONS— i.  Where  did  you 
find  the  hummingbird?  What  flowers  was 
it  visiting?  At  what  time  of  day?  Can  you 
tell  whether  it  is  a  hummingbird  or  a 
hawkmoth  which  is  visiting  the  flowers? 
At  what  time  of  day  do  the  hawkmoths 
appear? 

2.  Did  you  ever  see  the  hummingbird 
come  to  rest?  Describe  its  actions  while 
resting. 


117 


3.  What  are  the  colors  of  the  back, 
throat,  breast,  and  under  parts?  How  do 
you  distinguish  the  mother  hummingbird 
from  her  mate? 

4.  How   does    the   hummingbird    act 
when  extracting  the  nectar?  How  does  it 
balance  itself  in  front  of  a  flower?  Have 
you  ever  seen  hummingbirds  catch  insects 
in  the  air?  If  so,  describe  how  they  did  it. 

5.  Describe   the  hummingbird's  nest. 
How  large  is  it  in  diameter?  What  is  the 
covering  outside?  With  what  is  it  lined? 


THE  RED-WINGED  BLACKBIRD 


The  blackbirds  are  among  our  earliest 
visitors  in  the  spring;  they  come  in  flocks 
and  beset  our  leafless  trees  like  punctua- 
tion marks,  meanwhile  squeaking  like  mu- 
sical wheelbarrows.  What  they  are,  where 
they  come  from,  where  they  are  going  and 
what  they  are  going  to  do,  are  the  ques- 
tions that  naturally  arise  at  the  sight  of 
these  sable  flocks.  It  is  not  easy  to  distin- 
guish grackles,  cowbirds,  and  rusty  black- 
birds at  a  glance,  but  the  redwing  pro- 
claims his  identity  from  afar.  The  bright 
red  epaulets,  margined  behind  with  pale 
yellow,  make  up  a  uniform  which  catches 
the  admiring  eye.  The  bird's  glossy  black 
plumage  brings  into  greater  contrast  his 
bright  decorations.  No  one  who  has  seen 
his  actions  can  doubt  that  he  is  fully 
aware  of  his  beauty:  he  comes  sailing 
down  at  the  end  of  his  strong,  swift  flight, 
and  balances  himself  on  some  bending 
reed;  then,  dropping  his  long  tail  as  if 
it  were  the  crank  of  his  music  box,  and 
holding  both  wings  lifted  to  show  his  scar- 
let decorations,  he  sings  his  "  quong-quer- 
ee-ee."  Little  wonder  that  such  a  hand- 
some, military-looking  fellow  should  be 
able  now  and  then  to  win  more  than 
his  share  of  feminine  admiration.  But 
even  though  he  become  an  entirely  suc- 
cessful bigamist  or  even  trigamist,  he  has 
proved  himself  to  be  a  good  protector 
of  each  and  all  of  his  wives  and  nestlings; 
however,  he  often  has  but  one  mate. 

"  The  redwing  flutes  his  O-ka-lee "  is 


Emerson's  graphic  description  of  the 
sweet  song  of  the  redwing;  he  also  has 
many  other  notes.  He  clucks  to  his  mates 
and  clucks  more  sharply  when  suspicious, 
and  has  one  alarm  note  that  is  truly  alarm- 


L 


Male  and  female  red-winged  blackbirds 

ing.  The  male  redwings  come  from  the 
South  in  March;  they  appear  in  flocks7 
often  three  weeks  before  their  mates  ar- 
rive. The  female  looks  as  though  she  be- 
longed to  quite  a  different  species.  Al- 


n8 


ANIMALS 


Nest  and  eggs  of  the  red-winged  blackbird 

though  her  head  and  back  are  black,  the 
black  is  decidedly  rusty;  it  is  quite  im- 
possible to  describe  her,  she  is  so  incon- 
spicuously speckled  with  brown,  black, 
whitish  buff,  and  orange.  Most  of  us  never 
recognize  her  unless  we  see  her  with  her 
spouse.  She  probably  does  most  of  the 
nest  building,  and  her  suit  of  salt,  pepper, 
and  mustard  renders  her  invisible  to  the 
keen  eyes  of  birds  of  prey.  Only  when  she 
is  flying  does  she  show  her  blackbird  char- 
acteristics —  her  tail  being  long  and  of  ob- 
vious use  as  a  steering  organ;  and  she  walks 
with  long,  stiff  strides.  The  redwings  are 
ever  to  be  found  in  and  about  swamps 
and  marshes.  The  nest  is  usually  built  in 
May;  it  is  made  of  grasses  and  stalks  of 
weeds  and  is  lined  with  finer  grass  or 
reeds.  It  is  bulky  and  is  placed  in  low 
bushes  or  among  the  reeds.  The  eggs  are 
pale  blue,  streaked  and  spotted  with 
purple  or  black.  The  young  resemble  the 
mother  in  color,  the  males  being  obliged 
to  wait  a  year  for  their  epaulets.  As  to 
the  food  of  the  redwings  here  in  the 
North,  Mr.  Forbush  has  said: 


"  Although  the  red-wings  almost  invari- 
ably breed  in  the  swamp  or  marsh,  they 
have  a  partiality  for  open  fields  and 
plowed  lands;  however,  most  of  the  black- 
birds that  nest  in  the  smaller  swamps  ad- 
jacent to  farm  lands  get  a  large  share  of 
their  food  from  the  farmer's  fields.  They 
forage  about  the  fields  and  meadows  when 
they  first  come  north  in  the  spring.  Later, 
they  follow  the  plow,  picking  up  grubs, 
worms  and  caterpillars;  and  should  there 
be  an  outbreak  of  canker-worms  in  the  or- 
chard, the  blackbirds  will  fly  at  least  half 
a  mile  to  get  canker-worms  for  their  young. 
Wilson  estimated  that  the  red-wings  of 
the  United  States  would  in  four  months 
destroy  sixteen  thousand  two  hundred 


A.  A.  Allen 

The  mother  arrives  with  food  for  her  young 

million  larvas.  They  eat  the  caterpillars  of 
the  gypsy  moth,  the  forest  tent-caterpillar, 
and  other  hairy  larvae.  They  are  among 
the  most  destructive  birds  to  weevils,  click 
beetles,  and  wire-worms.  Grasshoppers, 
ants,  bugs,  and  flies  form  a  portion  of  the 
red-wing's  food.  They  eat  comparatively 
little  grain  in  Massachusetts  although  they 
get  some  from  newly  sown  fields  in  spring, 
as  well  as  from  the  autumn  harvest;  but 
they  feed  very  largely  on  the  seeds  of 
weeds  and  wild  rice  in  the  fall.  In  the 


BIRDS 


119 


South  they  join  with  the  bobolink  in 
devastating  the  rice  fields,  and  in  the 
West  they  are  often  so  numerous  as  to 
destroy  the  grain  in  the  fields;  but  here  [in 
the  North  and  East]  the  good  they  do  far 
outweighs  the  injury,  and  for  this  reason 
they  are  protected  by  law." 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  25;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  30 
THE  RED-WINGED  BLACKBIRD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  red-winged 
blackbird  lives  in  the  marshes  where  it 
builds  its  nest.  However,  it  comes  over 
to  our  plowed  lands  and  pastures  and 
helps  the  farmer  by  destroying  many  in- 
sects which  injure  the  meadows,  crops, 
and  trees. 

METHOD  —  The  observations  should  be 
made  by  the  pupils  individually  in  the 
field.  These  birds  may  be  looked  for  in 
flocks  early  in  the  spring,  but  the  study 
should  be  made  in  May  or  June  when  they 
will  be  found  in  numbers  in  almost  any 
swamp.  The  questions  may  be  given  to  the 
pupils  a  few  at  a  time  or  written  in  their 
field  notebooks  and  the  answers  discussed 
when  discovered. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  How  can  you  dis- 
tinguish the  red-winged  blackbird  from 
all  other  blackbirds?  Where  is  the  red 
on  his  wings?  Is  there  any  other  color  be- 
sides black  on  the  wings?  Where?  What 
is  the  color  of  the  rest  of  the  plumage  of 
this  bird? 

2.  What  is  there  peculiar  in  the  flight 
of  the  redwing?  Is  its  tail  long  or  short? 
How  does  it  use  its  tail  in  flight?  What  is 


its  position  when  the  bird  alights  on  a 
reed? 

3.  What  is  the  song  of  the  redwing? 
Describe  the  way  he  holds  his  wings  and 
tail  when  singing,  balanced  on  a  reed  or 
some  other  swamp  grass.  Does  he  show  off 
his  epaulets  when  singing?  What  note 
does  he  give  when  he  is  surprised  or  sus- 
picious? When  frightened? 

4.  When  does  the  redwing  first  appear 
in  the  spring?  Does  he  come  alone  or  in 
flocks?  Does  his  mate  come  with  him? 
Where  do  the  redwings  winter?  In  what 
localities  do  the  red-winged  blackbirds 
live?  Why  do  they  live  there?  What  is  the 
color  of  the  mother  redwing?  Would  you 
know  by  her  looks  that  she  was  a  black- 
bird? What  advantage  is  it  to  the  pair 
that  the  female  is  so  dull  in  color? 

5.  At  what  time  do  these  birds  nest? 
Where  is  the  nest  built?  Of  what  ma- 
terial? How  is  it  concealed?  What  is  the 
color  of  the  eggs? 

6.  Do  the  young  birds  resemble  in  color 
their  father  or  their  mother?  Why  is  this 
an  advantage? 

7.  Is  the  redwing  ever  seen  in  fields 
adjoining  the  marshes?  What  is  he  doing 
there?  Does  he  walk  or  hop  when  looking 
for  food?  What  is  the  food  of  the  red- 
wings? Do  they  ever  damage  grain?  Do 
they  not  protect  grain  more  than  they 
damage  it? 

8.  What  great  good  do  the  redwings 
do  for  forest  trees?  For  orchards? 

9.  At  what  time  in  the  summer  do  the 
redwings   disappear  from  the   swamps? 
Where  do  they  gather  in  flocks?  Where 
is  their  special  feeding  ground  on  the  way 
south  for  the  winter? 


120 


ANIMALS 


The  Baltimore  oriole 


THE  BALTIMORE  ORIOLE 

I  know  his  name,  I  know  his  note, 

That  so  with  rapture  takes  my  soul; 
Like  flame  the  gold  beneath  his  throat, 

His  glossy  cope  is  black  as  coal. 
O  Oriole,  it  is  the  song 

You  sang  me  from  the  cottonwood, 
Too  young  to  feel  that  I  was  young, 

Too  glad  to  guess  if  life  were  good. 
—  WILLIAM  DEAN  HOWELLS 


Dangling  from  the  slender,  drooping 
branches  of  the  elm  in  winter,  these 
pocket  nests  look  like  some  strange  per- 
sistent fruit;  and,  indeed,  they  are  the 
fruit  of  much  labor  on  the  part  of  the 
oriole  weavers,  those  skilled  artisans  of 
the  bird  world.  Sometimes  the  oriole 
"  For  the  summer  voyage  his  hammock 
swings  "  in  a  sapling,  placing  it  near  the 
main  stem  and  near  the  top;  otherwise  it 
is  almost  invariably  hung  at  the  end  of 
branches  and  is  rarely  less  than  twenty 
feet  from  the  ground.  The  nest  is  pocket- 
shaped,  and  usually  about  seven  inches 
long,  and  four  and  a  half  inches  wide  at 
the  largest  part,  which  is  the  bottom.  The 


top  is  attached  to  forked  twigs  at  the  Y 
so  that  the  mouth  or  door  will  be  kept 
open  to  allow  the  bird  to  pass  in  and  out; 
when  within,  the  weight  of  the  bird 
causes  the  opening  to  contract  somewhat 
and  protects  the  inmate  from  prying  eyes. 
Often  the  pocket  hangs  free  so  that  the 
breezes  may  rock  it,  but  in  one  case  we 
found  a  nest  with  the  bottom  stayed  to 
a  twig  by  guy  lines.  The  bottom  is  much 
more  closely  woven  than  the  upper  part 
for  a  very  good  reason,  since  the  open 
meshes  admit  air  to  the  sitting  bird.  The 
nest  is  lined  with  hair  or  other  soft  ma- 
terial, and  although  this  is  added  last,  the 
inside  of  the  nest  is  woven  first.  The  ori- 


BIRDS 


121 


oles  like  to  build  the  framework  of  twine, 
and  it  is  marvelous  how  they  will  loop  this 
around  a  twig  almost  as  evenly  knotted  as 
if  crocheted;  in  and  out  of  this  net  the 
mother  bird  with  her  long,  sharp  beak 
weaves  bits  of  wood  fiber,  strong,  fine 
grass,  and  scraps  of  weeds.  The  favorite 
lining  is  horsehair,  which  simply  cushions 
the  bottom  of  the  pocket.  Dr".  Detwiler 
had  a  pet  oriole  which  built  her  nest  of 
his  hair,  which  she  pulled  from  his  head; 
is  it  possible  that  orioles  get  their  supply 
of  horsehair  in  a  similar  way?  If  we  put 
bright-colored  twine  or  narrow  ribbons  in 
convenient  places,  the  orioles  will  weave 
them  into  the  nest,  but  the  strings  should 
not  be  long  lest  the  birds  become  entan- 
gled. If  the  nest  is  strong  the  birds  may 
use  it  a  second  year. 

That  Lord  Baltimore  found  in  new 
America  a  bird  wearing  his  colors  must 
have  cheered  him  greatly;  and  it  is  well 
for  us  that  this  brilliant  bird  brings  to  our 
minds  kindly  thoughts  of  that  tolerant, 
high-minded  English  nobleman.  The  ori- 
ole's head,  neck,  throat,  and  part  of  the 
back  are  black;  the  wings  are  black  but  the 
feathers  are  margined  with  white;  the  tail 
is  black  except  that  the  ends  of  the  outer 
feathers  are  yellow;  all  the  rest  of  the  bird 
is  golden  orange,  a  luminous  color  which 
makes  him  seem  a  splash  of  brilliant  sun- 
shine. The  female,  although  marked  much 
the  same,  has  the  back  so  dull  and  mot- 
tled that  it  looks  olive-brown;  the  rump, 
breast,  and  under  parts  are  yellow  but  by 
no  means  showy.  The  advantage  of  these 
quiet  colors  to  the  mother  bird  is  obvious, 
since  it  is  she  that  makes  the  nest  and 
sits  in  it  without  attracting  attention  to 
its  location.  In  fact,  when  she  is  sitting, 
her  brilliant  mate  places  himself  far 
enough  away  to  distract  the  attention  of 
meddlers,  yet  near  enough  for  her  to  see 
the  flash  of  his  breast  in  the  sunshine  and 
to  hear  his  rich  and  cheering  song.  He 
is  a  good  spouse  and  brings  her  the  ma- 
terials for  the  nest  which  she  weaves  in, 
hanging  head  downward  from  a  twig  and 
using  her  long  sharp  beak  for  a  shuttle. 
And  his  glorious  song  is  for  her  alone. 
Some  hold  that  no  two  orioles  have  the 


C.  R.  Crosby 

An  oriole's  nest,  anchored  to  the  windward 

same  song,  and  I  know  of  two  individuals 
at  least  whose  songs  were  sung  by  no  other 
birds:  one  gave  a  phrase  from  the  Wald- 
vogel's  song  in  Siegfried;  the  other  whis- 
tled over  and  over,  "  Sweet  birdie,  hello, 
hello/7  The  orioles  can  chatter  and  scold 
as  well  as  sing. 

The  oriole  is  a  brave  defender  of  his 
nest  and  a  most  devoted  father,  working 
hard  to  feed  his  ever-hungry  nestlings;  we 
can  hear  these  hollow  mites  peeping  for 
more  food,  "  Tee  dee  dee,  tee  dee  dee/7 
shrill  and  constant,  if  we  stop  for  a  mo- 
ment under  the  nest  in  June.  The  young 
birds  dress  in  the  safe  colors  of  the  mother, 
the  males  not  donning  their  bright  plum- 
age until  the  second  year.  A  brilliant  col- 
ored fledgling  would  not  live  long  in  a 
world  where  sharp  eyes  are  in  constant 
quest  for  little  birds  to  fill  empty  stom- 
achs. 

The  food  of  the  oriole  places  it  among 
our  most  beneficial  birds,  since  it  is  al- 
ways ready  to  cope  with  the  hairy  cater- 
pillars avoided  by  most  birds;  it  has  learned 
to  abstract  the  caterpillar  from  his  spines 
and  is  thus  able  to  swallow  him  minus  his 


122 


ANIMALS 


Young  orioles  just  out  of  the  nest 


"  whiskers/'  The  orioles  are  waging  a  great 
war  against  the  terrible  brown-tail  and 
gypsy  moths;  they  also  eat  click  beetles 
and  many  other  noxious  insects.  Once 
when  we  were  breeding  big  caterpillars  in 
the  Cornell  University  Insectary,  an  oriole 
came  in  through  the  open  windows  of 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

An  orchard  oriole 

the  greenhouse,  and  thinking  he  had 
found  a  bonanza  proceeded  to  work  it, 
carrying  off  our  precious  crawlers  before 
we  discovered  what  was  happening. 

The  orioles  winter  in  Central  America 
and  give  us  scarcely  four  months  of  their 


company.  They  do  not  usually  appear  be- 
fore May  and  leave  in  early  September. 
SUGGESTED  READING  —  American  Bird 
Biographies,  by  A.  A.  Allen;  Audubon 
Bird  Leaflet  26;  Bird-House  to  Let,  by 
Mary  F.  Terrel;  Bird  Stories  from  Bur- 
roughs, by  John  Burroughs;  Nature  and 
Science  Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and 
Harrison  E.  Howe,  Book  2,  Outdoor 
Visits;  Pathways  in  Science,  by  Gerald  S. 
Craig  and  Co-authors,  Book  3,  Our  Wide, 
Wide  World;  also,  readings  on  pages  28- 
29. 

LESSON  31 
THE  ORIOLE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  oriole  is  the 
most  skillful  of  all  our  bird  architects. 
It  is  also  one  of  our  prized  song  birds 
and  is  very  beneficial  to  the  farmer  and  the 
fruit  grower  because  of  the  insect  pests 
which  it  destroys. 

METHOD  —  Begin  during  winter  or 
early  spring  with  a  study  of  the  nest,  which 
may  be  obtained  from  the  elms  of  the 
roadsides.  During  the  first  week  in  May, 
give  the  questions  concerning  the  birds 
and  their  habits.  Let  the  pupils  keep  the 
questions  in  their  notebooks  and  answer 
them  when  they  have  opportunity.  The 


BIRDS 


123 


observations  should  be  summed  up  once 
a  week. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  Where  did  you 
find  the  nest?  On  what  species  of  tree? 
Was  it  near  the  trunk  of  the  tree  or  the 
tip  of  the  branch? 

2.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  nest?  How 
long  is  it?  How  wide?  Is  the  opening  as 
large  as  the  bottom  of  the  nest?  How  is 
it  hung  to  the  twigs  so  that  the  opening 
remains  open  and  does  not  pull  together 
with  the  weight  of  the  bird  at  the  bottom? 
Is  the  bottom  of  the  nest  stayed  to  a 
twig  or  does  it  hang  loose? 

3.  With  what  material  and  how  is  the 
nest  fastened  to  the  branches?  Of  what 
material  is  the  outside  made?  How  is  it 
woven  together?  Is  it  more  loosely  woven 
at  the  top  than  at  the  bottom?  How  many 
kinds  of  material  can  you  find  in  the  out- 
side of  the  nest? 

4.  With  what  is  the  nest  lined?  How 
far  up  is  it  lined?  With  what  tool  was  the 
nest  woven?  If  you  put  out  bright-colored 
bits  of  ribbon  and  string  do  you  think 
the  orioles  will  use  them?  Why  should 
you  not  put  out  long  strings? 

5.  At  what  date  did  you  first  see  the 
Baltimore  oriole?  Why  is  it  called  the 
Baltimore  oriole?  How  many  other  names 
has  it?  Describe  in  the  following  way  the 
colors  of  the  male  oriole:  top  of  head, 
back,  wings,  tail,  throat,  breast,  under 
parts.  What  are  the  colors  of  his  mate? 
How  would  it  endanger  the  nest  and  nest- 
lings if  the  mother  bird  were  as  bright 
colored  as  the  father  bird? 

6.  Which  weaves  the  nest,  the  father 
or  the  mother  bird?  Does  the  former  as- 
sist in  any  way  in  nest  building? 

7.  Where  does  the  father  bird  stay  and 


what  does  he  do  while  the  mother  bird 
is  sitting  on  the  eggs? 

8.  What  is  the  oriole's  song?  Has  he 
more  than  one  song?  What  other  notes 
has  he?  After  the  young  birds  hatch,  does 
the  father  bird  help  take  care  of  them? 

9.  By  the  middle  of  June  the  young 
birds  are  usually  hatched;  if  you  know 
where  an  oriole  nest  is  hung,  listen  and 
describe  the  call  of  the  nestlings  for  food. 

10.  Which  parent  do  the  young  birds 
resemble  in  their  colors?  Why  is  this  a 
benefit? 

11.  What  is  the  oriole's  food?  How  is 
the  oriole  of  benefit  to  us  in  ways  in  which 
other  birds  are  not? 

12.  Do  the  orioles  use  the  same  nest 
two  years  in  succession?  How  long  does 
the  oriole  stay  in  the  North?  Where  does 
it  spend  its  winters? 

Hush/  'tis  he/ 

My  oriole,  my  glance  of  summer  fire, 
Is  come  at  last,  and,  ever  on  the  watch, 
Twitches  the  packthread  I  had  lightly 

wound 

About   the   bough   to    help   his   house- 
keeping, — 
Twitches  and  scouts  by  turns,  blessing  his 

luck, 

Yet  fearing  me  who  laid  it  in  his  way, 
Nor,  more  than  wiser  we  in  our  affairs, 
Divines  the  Providence  that  hides  and 

helps. 
Heave,  ho!  Heave,  ho/  he  whistles  as  the 

twine 
Slackens  its  hold;  once  more,  now/  and  a 

flash 

Lightens  across  the  sunlight  to  the  elm 
Where  his  mate  dangles  at  her  cup  of  felt. 

—  "  UNDER  THE  WILLOWS/'  LOWELL 


ANIMALS 


THE  CROW 


Thoreau  says:  "  What  a  perfectly  New 
England  sound  is  this  voice  of  the  crow! 
If  you  stand  still  anywhere  in  the  out- 
skirts of  the  town  and  listen,  this  is  per- 
haps the  sound  which  you  will  be  most 
sure  to  hear,  rising  above  all  sounds  of 
human  industry  and  leading  your  thoughts 
to  some  far-away  bay  in  the  woods.  The 
bird  sees  the  white  man  come  and  the 
Indian  withdraw,  but  it  withdraws  not. 
Its  untamed  voice  is  still  heard  above  the 
tinkling  of  the  forge.  It  sees  a  race  pass 
away,  but  it  passes  not  away.  It  remains 
to  remind  us  of  aboriginal  nature/7 

The  crow  is  probably  the  most  intelli- 
gent of  all  our  native  birds.  It  is  quick  to 
learn  and  clever  in  action,  as  many  a 
farmer  will  testify  who  has  tried  to  keep 
it  out  of  corn  fields  with  various  devices, 
the  harmless  character  of  which  the  crow 
soon  understood  perfectly.  Of  all  our 
birds,  this  one  has  the  longest  list  of  vir- 
tues and  of  sins,  as  judged  from  our  stand- 
point; but  we  should  listen  to  both  sides 
of  the  case  before  we  pass  judgment.  I 
find  with  crows,  as  with  people,  that  I  like 


some  more  than  I  do  others.  I  do  not  like 
at  all  the  cunning  old  crow  which  steals 
the  suet  I  put  on  the  trees  in  winter  for 
the  chickadees  and  nuthatches;  and  I  have 
hired  a  boy  with  a  shotgun  to  protect  the 
eggs  and  nestlings  of  the  robins  and  other 
birds  in  my  neighborhood  from  the  rav- 
ages of  one  or  two  cruel  old  crows  that 
have  developed  the  nest-hunting  habit. 
On  the  other  hand,  I  became  a  sincere 
admirer  of  a  crow  flock  which  worked  in 
a  field  close  to  my  country  home,  and  I 
have  been  the  chosen  friend  of  several 
tame  crows  who  were  even  more  inter- 
esting than  they  were  mischievous. 

The  crow  is  larger  than  any  other  of 
our  common  black  birds;  the  northern 
raven  is  still  larger,  but  is  very  rarely  seen. 
Although  the  crow's  feathers  are  black, 
yet  in  the  sunlight  a  beautiful  purple  iri- 
descence plays  over  the  plumage,  espe- 
cially about  the  neck  and  back;  it  has  a 
compact  but  not  ungraceful  body,  and 
long,  powerful  wings;  its  tail  is  medium 
sized  and  is  not  notched  at  the  end;  its 
feet  are  long  and  strong;  the  track  shows 


BIRDS 


three  toes  directed  forward  and  one  long 
one  directed  backward.  The  crow  does 
not  sail  through  the  air  as  does  the  hawk, 
but  progresses  with  an  almost  constant 
flapping  of  the  wings.  Its  beak  is  very 
strong  and  is  used  for  tearing  the  flesh 
of  its  prey  and  for  defense,  and  in  fact 
for  almost  anything  that  a  beak  could  be 
used  for;  its  eye  is  all  black  and  is  very 
keen  and  intelligent.  When  hunting  for 
food  in  the  field,  it  usually  walks,  but 
sometimes  hops.  The  raven  and  the  fish 
crows  are  the  nearest  relatives  of  the 
American  crow,  and  next  to  them  the  jays. 
We  should  hardly  think  that  the  blue  jay 
and  the  crow  were  related  to  look  at  them, 
but  when  we  come  to  study  their  habits, 
much  is  to  be  found  in  common. 

The  crow's  nest  is  usually  very  large;  it 
is  made  of  sticks,  of  grape  vines  and  bark, 
sod,  horsehair,  moss,  and  grasses.  It  is 
placed  in  trees  or  in  tall  bushes  rarely  less 
than  twenty  feet  from  the  ground.  The 
eggs  are  pale  bluish  green  or  nearly  white 
with  brownish  markings.  The  young  crows 
hatch  in  April  or  May.  Both  parents  are 
devoted  in  the  care  of  the  young,  and 
remain  with  them  during  most  of  the 
summer.  I  have  often  seen  a  mother  crow 
feeding  her  young  ones  which  were  fol- 
lowing her  with  obstreperous  caws,  al- 
though they  were  as  large  as  she. 

While  the  note  of  the  crow  is  harsh 


Herbert  E.  Gray 

A  crow's  nest  and  eggs 


Young  crows  are  a  noisy  lot 

when  close  at  hand,  it  has  a  musical  qual- 
ity in  the  distance.  Mr.  Mathews  says: 
"  The  crow  when  he  sings  is  nothing  short 
of  a  clown;  he  ruffles  his  feathers,  stretches 
his  neck,  like  a  cat  with  a  fish  bone  in 
her  throat,  and  with  a  most  tremen- 
dous effort  delivers  a  series  of  hen-like 
squawks."  But  aside  from  his  caw,  the 
crow  has  some  very  seductive  soft  notes. 
I  have  held  long  conversations  with  two 
pet  crows,  talking  with  them  in  a  high, 
soft  tone,  and  finding  that  they  answered 
readily  in  a  like  tone  in  a  most  responsive 
way.  I  have  also  heard  these  same  tones 
among  the  wild  crows  when  they  were 
talking  together;  one  note  is  a  guttural 
tremolo,  most  grotesque. 

Crows  gather  in  flocks  for  the  winter; 
these  flocks  number  from  fifty  to  several 
hundred  individuals,  all  having  a  common 
roosting  place,  usually  in  pine  or  hemlock 
forests  or  among  other  evergreens.  They 
go  out  from  these  roosts  during  the  day 
to  get  food,  often  making  a  journey  of 
many  miles.  During  the  nesting  season 
they  scatter  in  pairs,  and  they  do  not 
gather  again  in  flocks  until  the  young  are 
fully  grown. 

When  crows  are  feeding  in  the  fields 
there  is  usually,  if  not  always,  a  sentinel 
posted  on  some  high  point  so  that  he  can 
give  warning  of  danger.  This  sentinel  is 


126 


ANIMALS 


Verne  Morton 

The  story  of  a  take-off.  With  the  third  wing 
beat  the  crow  is  away 

an  experienced  bird  and  is  keen  to  detect 
a  dangerous  from  a  harmless  intruder.  I 
once  made  many  experiments  with  these 
sentinels;  I  finally  became  known  to  those 
of  a  particular  flock  and  I  was  allowed 
to  approach  within  a  few  yards  of  where 
the  birds  were  feeding,  a  privilege  not  ac- 
corded to  any  other  person  in  the  neigh- 
borhood. 

The  crow  is  a  general  feeder  and  will 
eat  almost  any  food;  generally,  however, 
it  finds  its  food  upon  the  ground.  The 
food  given  to  nestlings  is  very  largely  in- 
sects, and  many  pests  are  thus  destroyed. 
The  crows  do  harm  to  the  farmer  by  pull- 
ing the  sprouting  com  and  by  destroying 
the  eggs  and  young  of  poultry.  They  also 
do  much  harm  by  destroying  the  eggs  and 
nestlings  of  other  birds  which  are  bene- 
ficial to  the  farmer;  they  also  do  some 
harm  by  distributing  the  seeds  of  poison 
ivy  and  other  noxious  plants.  All  these 
must  be  set  down  in  the  account  against 
the  crow,  but  on  the  credit  side  must  be 
placed  the  fact  that  it  does  a  tremendous 
amount  of  good  work  for  the  farmer  by 
eating  injurious  insects,  especially  the 
grubs  and  cutworms  which  work  in  the 
ground,  destroying  the  roots  of  grasses 


and  grains.  It  also  kills  many  mice  and 
other  rodents  which  are  destructive  to 
crops. 

One  of  the  best  methods  of  preventing 
crows  from  taking  sprouting  com  is  to 
treat  the  seed  corn  with  some  strong- 
smelling  substance,  such  as  tar. 

If  any  of  the  pupils  in  your  school  have 
had  any  experience  with  tame  crows  they 
will  relate  interesting  examples  of  the 
love  of  the  crow  for  glittering  objects. 
I  once  knew  a  tame  crow  which  stole  all 
of  the  thimbles  in  the  house  and  buried 
them  in  the  garden;  he  would  watch 
for  a  thimble  to  be  laid  aside  when  the 
sewing  was  dropped,  and  would  seize  it 
almost  immediately.  This  same  crow  per- 
sisted in  taking  the  clothespins  off  the 
line  and  burying  them,  so  that  he  was 
finally  imprisoned  on  wash-clays.  He  was 
fond  of  playing  marbles  with  a  little  boy 
of  the  family.  The  boy  would  shoot  a 
marble  into  a  hole  and  then  Billy,  the 
crow,  would  take  a  marble  in  his  beak 
and  drop  it  into  the  hole.  The  bird  seemed 
to  understand  the  game  and  was  highly 
indignant  if  the  boy  played  out  of  turn 
and  made  shots  twice  in  succession. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  77;  Bird  Stories,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch;  Bird  Stories  from  Burroughs,  by 
John  Burroughs;  The  Crow  in  its  Relation 
to  Agriculture,  by  E.  R.  Kalmbach  (U.  S. 
Department  of  Agriculture,  Farmers'  Bul- 
letin 1102);  Our  Baclcdoor  Neighbors,  by 
Frank  C.  Pellett;  The  Pet  Boole,  by  Anna 
B.  Comstock;  The  Stir  of  Nature,  by 
William  H.  Carr  (Cleo  and  Mark); 
Wild  Animals  I  Have  Known,  by  Er- 
nest Thompson  Seton;  also,  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 

LESSON  32 
THE  CROW 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  crow  has  the 
keenest  intelligence  of  all  our  common 
birds.  It  does  good  work  for  us  and  also 
does  damage.  We  should  study  its  ways 
before  we  pronounce  judgment,  for  in 
some  localities  it  may  be  a  true  friend  and 
in  others  an  enemy. 

METHOD  —  This  work  should  begin  in 
winter  with  an  effort  on  the  part  of  the 


BIRDS 


127 


boys  to  discover  the  food  of  the  crows 
while  snow  is  on  the  ground.  This  is  a 
good  time  to  study  their  habits  and  their 
roosts.  The  nests  are  also  often  seen  in 
winter,  although  usually  built  in  ever- 
greens. The  nesting  season  is  in  early 
April,  and  the  questions  about  the  nests 
should  be  given  then.  Let  the  other  ques- 
tions be  given  when  convenient.  The 
flight,  the  notes,  the  sentinels,  the  food, 
the  benefit  and  damage  may  all  be  taken 
as  separate  topics. 

The  following  topics  may  be  given  to 
correlate  with  work  in  English:  "What 
a  pet  crow  of  my  acquaintance  did "; 
"  Evidences  of  crow  intelligence ";  "  A 
plea  a  crow  might  make  in  self-defense  to 
the  farmer  who  wished  to  shoot  him  "; 
"  The  best  methods  of  preventing  crows 
from  stealing  planted  corn." 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  How  large  is  the 
crow  compared  with  other  black  birds? 

2.  Describe  its  colors  when  seen  in  the 
sunlight. 

3.  Describe  the  general  shape  of  the 
crow. 

4.  Are  its  wings  long  and  slender  or 
short  and  stout? 

5.  Is  the  tail  long  or  short?  Is  it  notched 
or  straight  across  the  end? 

6.  Describe  the  crow's  feet.  Are  they 
large  and  strong  or  slender?  How  many 
toes  does  the  track  show  in  the  snow  or 
mud?  How  many  are  directed  forward  and 
how  many  backward? 


7.  Describe  a  crow's  flight  compared 
with  that  of  the  hawk. 

8.  Describe  its  beak  and  what  it  is  used 
for. 

9.  What  is  the  color  of  the  crow's  eye? 

10.  When  hunting  for  food  does  the 
crow  hop  or  walk? 

11.  Which  are  the  crow's  nearest  rela- 
tives? 

12.  Where  and  of  what  material  do 
the  crows  build  their  nests? 

13.  Describe  the  eggs.  At  what  time  of 
the  year  do  the  young  crows  hatch?  Do 
both  parents  take  care  of  and  feed  the 
young?  How  long  do  the  parents  care  for 
the  young  after  they  leave  the  nest? 

14.  What  are  the  notes  of  the  crow?  If 
you  have  heard  one  give  any  note  besides 
"  caw,"  describe  it. 

15.  Where  and  how  do  crows  live  in 
winter?  Where  do  they  live  in  summer? 

16.  Do  they  post  sentinels  if  they  are 
feeding  in  the  fields?  If  so,  describe  the  ac- 
tion of  the  sentinel  on  the  approach  of 
people. 

17.  Upon  what   do   the   crows  feed? 
What  is  fed  to  the  nestlings? 

18.  How  do  the  crows  work  injury  to 
the  farmer?  How  do  they  benefit  the 
farmer?  Do  you  think  they  do  more  bene- 
fit than  harm  to  the  farmer  and  fruit- 
grower? 

19.  Have  you  known  of  instances  of 
the  crow's  fondness  for  shining  or  glitter- 
ing articles,  like  pieces  of  crockery  or  tin? 


THE  CARDINAL  GROSBEAK 


There  never  lived  a  Lord  Cardinal  who 
possessed  robes  of  state  more  brilliant  in 
color  than  the  plumage  of  this  bird.  By 
the  way,  I  wonder  how  many  of  us  ever 
think  when  we  see  the  peculiar  red  called 
cardinal,  that  it  gained  its  name  from  the 
dress  of  this  high  functionary  of  the 
church?  The  cardinal  grosbeak  is  the  best 
name  for  the  redbird  because  that  de- 
scribes it  exactly,  both  as  to  its  color  and 
its  chief  characteristic,  since  its  beak  is 
thick  and  large;  the  beak  is  also  red,  which 
is  a  rare  color  in  beaks,  and  in  order  to 


make  its  redness  more  emphatic  it  is  set 
in  a  frame  of  black  feathers.  The  use  of 
such  a  large  beak  is  unmistakable,  for  it 
is  strong  enough  to  crush  the  hardest  of 
seed  shells  or  to  crack  the  hardest  and  dri- 
est of  grains. 

What  cheer/  What  cheer! 

That  is  the  grosbeak's  way, 

With  his  sooty  face  and  his  coat  of  red 

sings  Maurice  Thompson.  Besides  the 
name  given  above,  this  bird  has  been 


128 


ANIMALS 


After  Audubon  Leaflet  18 

The  cardinal  grosbeak 

called  in  different  localities  the  redbird, 
Virginia  redbird,  crested  redbird,  winter 
redbird,  Virginia  nightingale,  the  red 
corn-cracker;  but  it  remained  for  James 
Lane  Allen  to  give  it  another  name  in  his 
masterpiece,  The  Kentucky  Cardinal. 

The  cardinal  is  a  trifle  smaller  than  the 
robin  and  is  by  no  means  slim  and  grace- 
ful, like  the  catbird  or  the  scarlet  tanager, 
but  is  quite  stout  and  is  a  veritable  chunk 
of  brilliant  color  and  bird  dignity.  The 
only  bird  that  rivals  him  in  redness  is  the 
scarlet  tanager,  which  has  black  wings;  the 
summer  tanager  is  also  a  red  bird,  but  is 
not  so  vermilion  and  is  more  slender  and 
lacks  the  crest.  The  cardinal  surely  finds 
his  crest  useful  in  expressing  his  emotions; 
when  all  is  serene,  it  lies  back  flat  on  the 
head,  but  with  any  excitement,  whether 
of  joy  or  surprise  or  anger,  it  lifts  until  it 
is  as  peaked  as  an  old-fashioned  nightcap. 
The  cardinal's  mate  is  of  quiet  color;  her 
back  is  greenish  gray  and  her  breast  buffy, 
while  her  crest,  wings,  and  tail  reflect  in 
faint  ways  the  brilliancy  of  his  costume. 

The  redbird's  song  is  a  stirring  succes- 
sion of  syllables  uttered  in  a  rich,  ringing 
tone,  and  may  be  translated  in  a  variety  of 
ways.  I  have  heard  him  sing  a  thousand 
times  "  tor-re'-do,  tor-re'-do,  tor-re'-do/' 
but  Dr.  Dawson  has  heard  him  sing  "  che'- 


pew,  che'-pew,  we'-woo,  we'-woo "; 
"  bird-ie,  bird-ie,  bird-ie;  tschew,  tschew, 
tschew  ";  and  "  chit-e-kew,  chit-e-kew;  he- 
weet,  he-weet."  His  mate  breaks  the  cus- 
tom of  other  birds  of  her  sex  and  sings  a 
sweet  song,  somewhat  softer  than  his. 
Both  birds  utter  a  sharp  note  "  tsip,  tsip." 
The  nest  is  built  in  bushes,  vines,  or  low 
trees,  often  in  holly,  laurel,  or  other  low 
evergreens,  and  is  rarely  more  than  six  or 
eight  feet  above  the  ground.  It  is  made  of 
twigs,  weed  stems,  tendrils,  the  bark  of  the 
grapevine,  and  coarse  grass;  it  is  lined  with 
fine  grass  and  rootlets;  it  is  rather  loosely 
constructed  but  firm  and  is  well  hidden, 
for  it  causes  these  birds  great  anguish  to 
have  their  nest  discovered.  Three  or  four 
eggs  are  laid,  which  are  bluish  white  or 
grayish,  dully  marked  with  brown.  The 
father  cardinal  is  an  exemplary  husband 
and  father;  he  cares  for  and  feeds  his  mate 
tenderly  and  sings  to  her  gloriously  while 
she  is  sitting;  and  he  works  hard  catching 
insects  for  the  nestlings.  He  is  also  a  brave 
defender  of  his  nest  and  will  attack  any 
intruder,  however  large,  with  undaunted 
courage.  The  fledglings  have  the  dull  color 
of  the  mother  and  have  dark-colored  bills. 
Until  the  young  birds  are  able  to  take  care 
of  themselves,  their  dull  color  somewhat 
protects  them  from  the  keen  eyes  of  their 
enemies.  If  the  male  fledglings  were  the 
color  of  their  father,  probably  not  one 
would  escape  a  tragic  death.  While  the 
mother  bird  is  hatching  the  second 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

The  cardinal  builds  its  nest  in  thick  bushes  or 
vines 


BIRDS 


brood,  the  father  keeps  the  first  brood 
with  him  and  cares  for  them;  often 
the  whole  family  remains  together  during 
the  winter,  making  a  small  flock.  How- 
ever, the  flocking  habit  is  not  characteris- 
tic of  these  birds,  and  we  only  see  them  in 
considerable  numbers  when  the  exigencies 
of  seeking  food  in  the  winter  naturally 
bring  them  together. 

The  cardinals  are  fond  of  the  shrubbery 
and  thickets  of  river  bottoms  near  grain 
fields,  or  where  there  is  plenty  of  wild 
grass,  and  they  only  visit  our  premises 
when  driven  to  us  by  winter  hunger.  Their 
food  consists  of  the  seeds  of  rank  weeds, 
corn,  wheat,  rye,  oats,  beetles,  grasshop- 
pers, flies,  and  to  some  extent,  wild  and 
garden  berries;  but  they  never  occur  in 
sufficient  numbers  to  be  a  menace  to  our 
crops.  The  cardinals  may  often  be  seen  in 
the  cornfields  after  the  harvest,  and  will 
husk  an  overlooked  ear  of  corn  and  crack 
the  kernels  with  their  beaks  in  a  most 
dexterous  manner.  During  the  winter  we 
may  coax  them  to  our  grounds  by  scatter- 
ing corn  in  some  place  not  frequented  by 
cats;  thus,  we  may  induce  them  to  nest 
near  us,  since  the  cardinal  is  not  naturally 
a  migrant  but  likes  to  stay  in  one  locality 
summer  and  winter.  It  has  been  known  to 
come  as  far  north  as  Boston  and  southern 
New  York,  but  it  is  found  in  greatest 
numbers  in  our  Southern  states. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  18;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  33 
THE  CARDINAL  GROSBEAK 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  cardinal  is 
the  most  brilliantly  colored  of  all  our 
birds,  and  one  of  our  most  cheerful  sing- 
ers. We  should  seek  to  preserve  it  as  a 
beautiful  ornament  to  our  groves  and 
grounds. 

METHOD  —  This  work  must  be  done 
by  personal  observation  in  the  field.  The 
field  notes  should  be  discussed  in  school. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Do  you  know  the 
cardinal?  Why  is  it  so  called? 

2.  How  many  names  do  you  know  for 
this  bird? 


Leonard  "K.  Beyer 

The  cardinal  sings  a  beautiful  song 

3.  Is  the  cardinal  as  large  as  the  robin? 
Is  it  graceful  in  shape? 

4.  Is  there  any  color  except  red  upon  it? 
If  so?  where? 

5.  What  other  vividly  red  birds  have 
we  and  how  can  we  distinguish  them  from 
the  cardinal? 

6.  Describe  the  cardinal's  crest  and  how 
it  looks  when  lifted.  Why  do  you  think  it 
lifts  it? 

7.  Describe  its  beak  as  to  color,  shape, 
and  size.  What  work  is  such  a  heavy  beak 
made  for? 

8.  Is  the  cardinal's  mate  the  same  color 
as  he?  Describe  the  color  of  her  head, 
back,  wings,  tail,  breast, 

9.  Can  you  imitate  the  cardinal's  song? 
What  words  do  you  think  he  seems  to 
sing?  Does  his  mate  sing  also?  Is  it  usual 
for  mother  birds  to  sing?  What  other 
notes  besides  songs  do  you  hear  him  utter? 

10.  Where  does  the  cardinal  usually 
build    its    nest?    How    high    from    the 
ground?  Of  what  materials?  Is  it  compact 
or  bulky?  How  many  eggs  are  there  and 
what  are  their  colors? 

11.  How  does  the  father  bird  act  while 
his  mate  is  brooding?  How  does  he  help 
take  care  of  the  young  in  the  nest? 

12.  How  do  the  fledglings  differ  in  color 
from  their  father?  From  their  mother?  Of 
what  use  to  the  young  birds  is  their  sober 
color? 


130 


ANIMALS 


13.  What  happens  to  the  fledglings  of 
the  first  brood  while  the  mother  is  hatch- 
ing the  eggs  of  the  second  brood? 

14.  In  what  localities  do  you  most  often 
see  the  cardinals?  Do  you  ever  see  them  in 
flocks? 

15.  What  is  the  food  of  the  cardinals? 
What  do  they  feed  their  nestlings? 

16.  Flow  can  you  induce  the  cardinals 
to  build  near  your  home? 


17.  What  do  you  know  about  the  laws 
protecting  birds?  Why  should  such  laws 
be  observed? 

Along  the  dust-white  river  road. 
The  saucy  redbird  chirps  and  trills; 
His  liquid  notes  resound  and  rise 
Until  they  meet  the  cloudless  skies, 
And  echo  o'er  the  distant  hills. 

—  NAYLOR 


GEESE 


To  be  called  a  goose  should  be  con- 
sidered most  complimentary,  for  of  all  the 
birds  the  goose  is  probably  the  most  intel- 
ligent. An  observant  lady  who  keeps  geese 
on  her  farm  assures  me  that  no  animal,  not 
even  dog  or  horse,  has  the  intelligence  of 
the  goose.  She  says  that  these  birds  learn 
a  lesson  after  a  few  repetitions,  and  surely 


Canada  geese  in  a  field  of  grain 


her  geese  were  patterns  of  obedience. 
While  I  was  watching  them  one  morning, 
they  started  for  the  brook  via  the  corn- 
field; she  called  to  them  sharply,  "  No,  no, 
you  mustn't  go  that  way!  "  They  stopped 
and  conferred;  she  spoke  again  and  they 
waited,  looking  at  her  as  if  to  make  up 
their  minds  to  this  exercise  of  self-sacrifice; 
but  when  she  spoke  the  third  time  they 
left  the  cornfield  and  took  the  other 
path  to  the  brook.  She  could  bring  her 


geese  into  their  house  at  any  time  of  day 
by  calling  to  them,  "  Home,  home!  "  As 
soon  as  they  heard  these  words,  they 
would  start  and  not  stop  until  the  last  one 
was  housed. 

In  ancient  Greece  maidens  made  pets  of 
geese;  and  often  there  was  such  a  devotion 
between  the  bird  and  the  girl  that  when 
the  latter  died  her  statue  with  that  of  the 
goose  was  carved  on  her  burial  tablet.  The 
loyalty  of  a  pet  goose  came  under  the  ob- 
servation of  Miss  Ada  Georgia.  A  lone 
gander  was  the  special  pet  of  a  small  boy 
in  Elmira,  New  York,  who  took  sole  care 
of  him.  The  bird  obeyed  commands  like 
a  dog  but  would  never  let  his  little  master 
out  of  his  sight  if  he  could  avoid  it;  occa- 
sionally he  would  appear  in  the  school 
yard,  where  the  pupils  would  tease  him 
by  pretending  to  attack  his  master  at  the 
risk  of  being  so  severely  whipped  with 
the  bird's  wings  that  it  was  a  test  of 
bravery  among  the  boys  so  to  challenge 
him.  His  fidelity  to  his  master  was  ex- 
treme; once  when  the  boy  was  ill  in  bed, 
the  bird  wandered  about  the  yard  honking 
disconsolately  and  refused  to  eat;  he  was 
driven  to  the  side  of  the  house  where  his 
master  could  look  from  the  window  and 
he  immediately  cheered  up,  took  his  food, 
and  refused  to  leave  his  post  beneath  the 
window  while  the  illness  lasted. 

The  goose  is  a  stately  bird  whether  on 
land  or  water;  its  long  legs  give  it  good  pro- 
portions when  walking,  and  the  neck,  be- 
ing so  much  longer  than  that  of  the  duck, 
gives  an  appearance  of  grace  and  dignity. 
The  duck  on  the  other  hand  is  beautiful 


BIRDS  131 

only  when  on  the  water  or  on  the  wing;  ciple  of  a  propeller;  but  when  swimming 

its  short  legs,  placed  far  back  and  far  out  at  around  in  the  pond  she  uses  them  at  al- 

the   sides,   make  it  a   most   ungraceful  most  right  angles  to  the  body.  Although 

walker.  The  beak  of  the  goose  is  harder  in  they  are  such  excellent  oars  they  are  also 

texture  and  is  not  flat  like  the  duck's;  no  efficient  on  land;  when  running,  her  body 

wonder  the  bird  was  a  favorite  with  the  an-  may  waddle  somewhat,  but  her  head  and 

cient  Greeks,  for  the  high  ridge  from  the  neck  are  held  aloft  in  stately  dignity, 

beak  to  the  forehead  resembles  the  fa-  The  Toulouse  are  our  common  gray 

mous  Grecian  nose.  The  plumage  of  geese  geese;  the  Embdens  are  pure  white  with 


orange  bill  and  bright  blue  eyes.  The  Afri- 
can geese  have  a  black  head  with  a  large 
black  knob  on  the  base  of  the  black  bill; 


is  very  beautiful  and  abundant  and  for 
this  reason  they  are  profitable  domestic 

birds.  They  are  picked  late  in  summer  7 

when  the  feathers  are  nearly  ready  to  be  the  neck  is  long,  snakelike,  light  gray,  with' 

molted;  at  this  time  the  geese  flap  their  a  dark  stripe  down  the  back;  the  wings  and 

wings  often  and  set  showers  of  loose  feath-  tail  are  dark  gray;  there  is  a  dewlap  at  the 

ers  flying.  A  stocking  or  a  bag  is  slipped  throat.  The  brown  Chinese  geese  have 

s^fm*-     J-~U  ^     "U.J_,J'«T 1      1       _1     .       •         •  i  i  11        11          i  f          11        it  -.  - 


over  the  bird's  head  and  she  is  turned 
breast  side  up  with  her  head  firmly  be- 
tween the  knees  or  under  the  arm  of  the 
picker.  The  tips  of  the  feathers  are  seized 
with  the  fingers  and  come  out  easily;  only 
the  breast,  the  under  parts,  and  the  feath- 


also  a  black  beak  and  a  black  knob  at  the 
base  of  the  bill.  The  neck  is  light  brown 
with  a  dull  yellowish  stripe  down  the 
neck.  The  back  is  dark  brown;  breast, 
wings,  and  tail  are  grayish  brown.  The 
white  Chinese  are  shaped  like  the  brown 


ers  beneath  the  wings  are  plucked.  Geese      Chinese,  but  the  knob  and  bill  are  orange 
do  not  seem  to  suffer  while  being  plucked      and  the  eyes  light  blue, 
except  through  the  temporary  inconven- 


ience and  ignominy  of  having  their  heads 
thrust  into  a  bag;  their  dignity  is  hurt 
more  than  their  bodies. 

The  wings  of  geese  are  very  large  and 
beautiful;  although  our  domestic  geese 
have  lost  their  powers  of  flight  to  a  great 
extent,  yet  they  often  stretch  their  wings 
and  take  little  flying  hops,  teetering  along 
as  if  they  can  scarcely  keep  on  earth;  this 
must  surely  be  reminiscent  of  the  old  in- 
stinct for  traveling  in  the  skies.  The  tail 
of  the  goose  is  a  half  circle  and  is  spread 
when  flying;  although  it  is  short,  it  seems 
to  be  sufficiently  long  to  act  as  a  rudder. 
The  legs  of  the  goose  are  much  longer 
than  those  of  the  duck;  they  are  not  set  so 
far  back  toward  the  rear  of  the  body,  and 
therefore  the  goose  is  the  much  better 
runner  of  the  two.  The  track  made  by  the 
goose's  foot  is  a  triangle  with  two  scallops 
on  one  side  made  by  the  webs  between  the 
three  front  toes;  the  hind  toe  is  placed 
high  up;  the  foot  and  the  unfeathered  por- 
tion of  the  leg,  protected  by  scales,  are 
used  as  oars  when  the  bird  is  swimming. 
When  she  swims  forward  rapidly,  her  feet 
extend  out  behind  her  and  act  on  the  prin- 


THE  HABITS  OF  GEESE 

Geese  are  monogamous  and  are  loyal 
to  their  mates.  Old-fashioned  people  de- 
clare that  they  choose  their  mates  on  Saint 
Valentine's  Day,  but  this  is  a  pretty  myth; 
when  once  mated,  the  pair  live  together 
year  after  year  until  one  dies;  an  interest- 
ing instance  of  this  is  one  of  the  traditions 
in  my  own  family.  A  fine  pair  of  geese 
belonging  to  my  pioneer  grandfather  had 
been  mated  for  several  years  and  had 
reared  handsome  families;  but  one  spring 
a  conceited  young  gander  fell  in  love  with 
the  old  goose,  and  as  he  was  young  and 
lusty,  he  whipped  her  legitimate  lord  and 
master  and  triumphantly  carried  her  away, 
although  she  was  manifestly  disgusted 
with  this  change  in  her  domestic  fortunes. 
The  old  gander  sulked  and  refused  to  be 
comforted  by  the  blandishments  of  any 
young  goose  whatever.  Later  the  old  pair 
disappeared  from  the  farmyard  and  the 
upstart  gander  was  left  wifeless.  It  was  in- 
ferred that  the  old  couple  had  run  away 
with  each  other  into  the  encompassing 
wilderness  and  much  sympathy  was  felt 
for  them  because  of  this  sacrifice  of  their 


132 


ANIMALS 


lives  for  loyalty.  However,  this  was  mis- 
placed sentiment,  for  later  in  the  summer 
the  happy  pair  was  discovered  in  a  distant 
"  slashing  "  with  a  fine  family  of  goslings, 
and  all  were  brought  home  in  triumph. 
The  old  gander,  while  not  able  to  cope 
with  his  rival,  was  still  able  to  trounce 
any  of  the  animal  marauders  which  ap- 
proached his  home  and  family. 

The  goose  lines  her  nest  with  down  and 
the  soft  feathers  which  she  plucks  from  her 
breast.  The  gander  is  very  devoted  to  his 
goose  while  she  is  sitting;  he  talks  to  her 
in  gentle  tones  and  is  fierce  in  her  defense. 
The  eggs  are  about  twice  as  large  as  those 
of  the  hen  and  have  the  ends  more 


A.  A.  Allen 


A  pair  of  Canada  geese.  While  one  broods  the 
eggs  the  other  stands  guard 

rounded.  The  period  of  incubation  is  four 
weeks.  The  goslings  are  beautiful  little 
creatures,  covered  with  soft  down,  and 
have  large,  bright  eyes.  The  parents  give 
them  most  careful  attention  from  the  first. 
One  family  which  I  studied  consisted  of 
the  parents  and  eighteen  goslings.  The 
mother  was  a  splendid  African  bird;  she 
walked  with  dignified  step,  her  graceful 
neck  assuming  serpentine  curves;  and  she 
always  carried  her  beak  "lifted/'  which 
gave  her  an  appearance  of  majestic  haugh- 
tiness. The  father  was  just  a  plebeian 
white  gander,  probably  of  Embden  de- 
scent, but  he  was  a  most  efficient  pro- 
tector. The  family  always  formed  a  proces- 
sion in  going  to  the  creek,  the  majestic 
mother  at  .the  head,  the  goslings  following 
her  and  the  gander  bringing  up  the  rear  to 


be  sure  there  were  no  stragglers;  if  a  gos- 
ling strayed  away  or  fell  behind,  the  male 
went  after  it,  pushing  it  back  into  the 
family  circle.  When  entering  the  coop  at 
night  he  pushed  the  little  ones  in  gently 
with  his  bill;  when  the  goslings  took  their 
first  swim,  both  parents  gently  pushed 
them  into  the  water,  "  rooted  them  in," 
as  the  farmer  said.  Any  attempt  to  take 
liberties  with  the  brood  was  met  with 
bristling  anger  and  defiance  on  the  part  of 
the  gander;  the  mistress  of  the  farm  told 
me  that  he  had  whipped  her  black  and 
blue  when  she  tried  to  interfere  with  the 
goslings. 

The  gander  and  goose  always  show  sus- 
picion and  resentment  by  opening  the 
mouth  wide  and  making  a  hissing  noise, 
showing  the  whole  round  tongue  in 
mocking  defiance.  When  the  gander  at- 
tacks, he  thrusts  his  head  forward,  even 
with  or  below  the  level  of  his  back,  seizes 
his  victim  firmly  with  his  hard,  toothed 
bill  so  that  it  cannot  get  away,  and  then 
with  his  strong  wings  beats  the  life  out  of 
it.  I  remember  vividly  a  whipping  which  a 
gander  gave  me  when  I  was  a  child,  hold- 
ing me  fast  by  the  blouse  while  he  laid  on 
the  blows. 

Geese  feed  much  more  largely  upon 
land  vegetation  than  do  ducks;  a  good 
growth  of  clover  and  grass  makes  excellent 
pasture  for  them;  in  the  water,  they  feed 
upon  water  plants  but  do  not  eat  insects 
and  animals  to  any  extent. 

Undoubtedly  goose  language  is  varied 
and  expresses  many  things.  Geese  talk  to 
each  other  and  call  from  afar;  they  shriek 
in  warning  and  in  general  make  such  a 
turmoil  that  people  do  not  enjoy  it.  The 
goslings,  even  when  almost  grown,  keep 
up  a  constant  "  pee  wee,  pee  wee,"  which 
is  nerve-racking.  There  is  a  good  oppor- 
tunity for  some  interesting  investigations 
in  studying  out  just  what  the  different 
notes  of  the  geese  mean. 

The  goose  is  very  particular  about  her 
toilet;  she  cleans  her  breast  and  back  and 
beneath  her  wings  with  her  bill;  and  she 
cleans  her  bill  with  her  foot;  she  also 
cleans  the  top  of  her  head  with  her  foot 
and  the  under  side  of  her  wing  with  the 


foot  of  that  side.  When  oiling  her  feath- 
ers, she  starts  the  oil  gland  flowing  with 
her  beak,  then  rubs  her  head  over  the 
gland  until  it  is  well  oiled;  she  then  uses 
her  head  as  a  "  dauber  "  to  apply  the  oil 


BIRDS  133 

to  the  feathers  of  her  back  and  breast. 
When  thus  polishing  her  feathers,  she 
twists  the  head  over  and  over  and  back  and 
forth  to  add  to  its  efficiency. 


The  Jack  Miner  Migratory  Bird  Foundation,  Inc. 

One  corner  of  Jack  Miner's  Bird  Sanctuary,  Kingsville,  Ontario,  Canada,  where  Canada 

geese  find  food,  shelter }  and  protection 

WILD  GEESE 


There  is  a  sound,  that,  to  the  weather- 
wise  farmer,  means  cold  and  snow,  even 
though  it  is  heard  through  the  hazy  atmos- 
phere of  an  Indian  summer  day;  and  that 
is  the  honking  of  wild  geese  as  they  pass 
on  their  southward  journey.  And  there  is' 
not  a  more  interesting  sight  anywhere  in 
the  autumn  landscape  than  the  wedge- 
shaped  flock  of  these  long-necked  birds 
with  their  leader  at  the  front  apex.  "  The 
wild  goose  trails  his  harrow/'  sings  the 
poet;  but  only  the  aged  can  remember 
the  old-fashioned  harrow  which  makes  this 
simile  graphic.  The  honking  which  reveals 
to  us  the  passing  flock,  before  our  eyes  can 
discern  the  birds  against  the  sky,  is  the 


call  of  the  wise  old  gander  who  is  the 
leader,  to  those  following  him,  and  their 
return  salute.  He  knows  the  way  on  this 
long  thousand-mile  journey,  and  knows  it 
by  instinct  and  in  part  by  the  topography 
of  the  country.  If  ever  fog  or  storm  hides 
the  earth  from  his  view,  he  is  likely  to  be- 
come confused,  to  the  dismay  of  his  flock, 
which  follows  him  to  the  earth  with  many 
lonely  and  distressful  cries. 

The  northern  migration  takes  place  in 
April  and  May,  and  the  southern  from 
October  to  December.  The  journey  is 
made  with  stops  for  rest  and  refreshment 
at  certain  selected  places,  usually  some  se- 
cluded pond  or  lake.  The  food  of  wild 


ANIMALS 


geese  consists  of  water  plants,  seeds  and 
corn,  and  some  of  the  smaller  animals  liv- 
ing in  water.  Although  the  geese  come  to 
rest  on  the  water,  they  go  to  the  shore  to 
feed.  In  California,  the  wild  geese  are 
dreaded  visitors  of  the  cornfields,  and  men 
with  guns  are  employed  regularly  to  keep 
them  off. 

The  nests  are  made  of  sticks  lined  with 
down,  usually  along  the  shores  of  streams, 
sometimes  on  tree  stumps  and  sometimes 
in  deserted  nests  of  the  osprey.  There  are 


A.  R.  Dugmore 

Wild  geese  flying  in  even  ranks 

only  four  or  five  eggs  laid  and  both  parents 
are  devoted  to  the  young,  the  gander 
bravely  defending  his  nest  and  family 
from  the  attacks  of  any  enemies. 

Although  there  are  several  species  of 
wild  geese  on  the  Atlantic  Coast,  the  one 
called  by  this  name  is  usually  the  Canada 
goose.  This  bird  is  a  superb  creature, 
brown  above  and  gray  beneath,  with  head, 
neck,  tail,  bill,  and  feet  of  black.  These 
black  trimmings  are  highly  ornamental 
and,  as  if  to  emphasize  them,  there  is  a 
white  crescent-shaped  "  bib  "  extending 
from  just  back  of  the  eyes  underneath  the 
head.  This  white  patch  is  very  striking, 
and  gives  one  the  impression  of  a  bandage 
for  sore  throat.  It  is  regarded  as  a  call- 
color,  and  is  supposed  to  help  keep  the 
flock  together;  the  side  tail-coverts  are  also 
white  and  may  serve  as  another  guide  to 
follow. 


Often  some  wounded  or  wearied  bird 
of  the  migrating  flock  spends  the  winter 
in  farmyards  with  domestic  geese.  One 
morning  a  neighbor  of  mine  found  that 
during  the  night  a  wild  gander,  injured 
in  some  way,  had  joined  his  flock.  The 
stranger  was  treated  with  much  courtesy 
by  its  new  companions  as  well  as  by  the 
farmer's  family  and  soon  seemed  per- 
fectly at  home.  The  next  spring  he  mated 
with  one  of  the  domestic  geese.  In  the  late 
summer,  my  neighbor,  mindful  of  wild 
geese  habits,  clipped  the  wings  of  the  gan- 
der so  that  he  would  be  unable  to  join  any 
passing  flock  of  his  wild  relatives.  As  the 
migrating  season  approached,  the  gander 
became  very  uneasy;  not  only  was  he  un- 
easy and  unhappy  always  but  he  insisted 
that  his  wife  share  his  misery  of  unrest. 
He  spent  days  in  earnest  remonstrance 
with  her  and,  lifting  himself  by  his 
cropped  wings  to  the  top  of  the  barnyard 
fence,  he  insisted  that  she  keep  him  com- 
pany on  this,  for  webbed  feet,  uneasy  rest- 
ing place.  Finally,  after  many  days  of 
tribulation,  the  two  valiantly  started  south 
on  foot.  News  was  received  of  their  prog- 
ress for  some  distance  and  then  they  were 
lost  to  us.  During  the  winter  our  neighbor 
visited  a  friend  living  eighteen  miles  to  the 
southward  and  found  in  his  barnyard  the 
errant  pair.  They  had  become  tired  of  mi- 
grating by  tramping  and  had  joined  the 
farmer's  flock;  but  we  were  never  able  to 
determine  the  length  of  time  required  for 
this  journey. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Audubon  Bird 
Leaflet  106;  Birds  in  the  Wilderness,  by 
George  M.  Sutton;  Farm  Animals,  by 
James  G.  Lawson;  Nature  and  Science 
Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison 
E.  Howe,  Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits,  Book  3, 
Surprises;  The  Pet  Boot,  by  Anna  B. 
Comstock;  also,  readings  on  pages  28-29. 

LESSON  34 
GEESE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Geese  are  the 
most  intelligent  of  the  domesticated  birds, 
and  they  have  many  interesting  habits. 

METHOD  —  This  lesson  should  not  be 


BIRDS 


given  unless  there  are  geese  where  the 
pupils  may  observe  them.  The  questions 
should  be  given  a  few  at  a  time  and  an- 
swered individually  by  the  pupils  after  the 
observations  are  made. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  What  is  the  chief 
difference  between  the  appearance  of  a 
goose  and  a  duck?  How  does  the  beak  of 
the  goose  differ  from  that  of  the  duck  in 
shape  and  in  texture?  Describe  the  nostrils 
and  their  situation. 

2.  What  is  the  difference  in  shape  be- 
tween the  neck  of  the  goose  and  that  of 
the  duck? 

3.  What  can  you  say  about  the  plum- 
age of  geese?  How  are  geese  "  picked  "? 
At  what  time  of  year?  From  what  parts 
of  the  body  are  the  feathers  plucked? 

4.  Are  the  wings  of  the  goose  large  com- 
pared with  the  body?  How  do  geese  exer- 
cise their  wings?  Describe  the  tail  of  the 
goose  and  how  it  is  used. 

5.  How  do  the  legs  and  feet  of  the 
goose  differ  from  those  of  the  duck?  De- 
scribe the  goose's  foot.  How  many  toes  are 
webbed?  Where  is  the  other  toe?  What  is 
the  shape  of  the  track  made  by  the  goose's 
foot?  Which  portions  of  the  legs  are  used 
for  oars?  When  the  goose  is  swimming 
forward  where  are  her  feet?  When  turning 
around  how  does  she  use  them?  Does  the 
goose  waddle  when  walking  or  running  as 
a  duck  does?  Why?  Does  a  goose  toe  in 
when  walking?  Why? 

6.  Describe  the  shape  and  color  of  the 
following  breeds  of  domestic  geese:  The 
Toulouse,  the  Embden,  the  African,  and 
the  Chinese. 


HABITS  OF  GEESE 


1.  What  is  the  chief  food  of  geese? 
What  do  they  find  in  the  water  to  eat? 
How  does  their  food  differ  from  that  of 
ducks? 

2.  How  do  geese  differ  from  hens  in  the 
matter  of  mating  and  nesting?  At  what 
time  of  year  do  geese  mate?  Does  a  pair 
usually  remain  mated  for  life? 

3.  Describe  the  nest  and  compare  the 
eggs  with  those  of  hens.  Describe  the 
young   goslings    in    general    appearance. 
With  what  are  they  covered?  What  care 
do  the  parents  give  to  their  goslings?  De- 
scribe how  the  parents  take  their  family 
afield.  How  do  they  induce  their  goslings 
to  go  into  the  water  for  the  first  time?  How 
do  they  protect  them  from  enemies? 

4.  How  does  the  gander  or  goose  fight? 
What  are  the  chief  weapons?  How  is  the 
head  held  when  the  attack  is  made? 

5.  How  does  the  goose  clean  her  feath- 
ers, wings,  and  feet?  How  does  she  oil  her 
feathers?  Where  does  she  get  the  oil  and 
with  what  does  she  apply  it? 

6.  How  much  of  goose  language  do  you 
understand?  What  is  the  note  of  alarm? 
How  are  defiance  and  distrust  expressed? 
How  does  a  goose  look  when  hissing? 
What  is  the  constant  note  which  the  gos- 
ling makes? 

7.  Give  such  instances  as  you  may  know 
illustrating  the  intelligence  of  geese,  their 
loyalty  and  bravery. 

8.  "  The  Canada  Goose,  its  appearance, 
nesting  habits,  and  migrations,"  would  be 
an  interesting  topic  for  discussion. 


GAME  BIRDS 


1.  RING-NECKED  PHEASANTS.  These  birds, 
native  to  China,  have  been  introduced  into  many 
other  parts  of  the  world.  They  were  first  brought 
to  the  United  States  in  1881  and  since  then  have 
become  common  in  many  of  the  states.   The 
cock  is  handsome  and  brightly  colored,  the  hen 
an  inconspicuous  brown.  These  pheasants  are 
found  in  fields   and  in   hedgerows   or  brush- 
covered  areas  rather  than  in  forested  sections. 
They  feed  chiefly  on  the  ground,  eating  weed 
seeds,  insects,  ungarnered  grain,  and  wild  or 
waste  fruit.  In  winter,  whenever  the  ground  is 
covered  with  crusted  snow  or  ice,  it  is  hard  for 
them  to  get  food  and  many  of  them  starve  unless 
man  feeds  them.  Another  difficulty  of  theirs  in 
winter  is  that  their  long  tail  feathers  get  loaded 
with  snow  and  ice,  which  keeps  them  from  going 
about  after  food  and  even  from  seeking  shelter. 
(Photo  by  courtesy  of  Country  Life  in  America) 

2.  WILD  TURKEY.  This  game  bird  was  once 
common  from  New   England  southward  and 
west  to   the   Rocky   Mountains.   It  has   been 
exterminated  in  the  North,  but  it  is  still  found 
locally  in  the  South   and  West.  Because  the 
wild  turkey   thrives  upon  a  variety  of  foods 
and  because  it  can  adapt  itself  to  varied  con- 
ditions of  climate,  it  is  again  being  introduced 
in  many  sections  of  the  country.    (Photo  by 
L.  W.  Brownell) 

3.  NEST  OF  THE  RUFFED  GROUSE.  The  ruffed 
grouse,   a   much  prized   game   bird,   is  native 
to  the  eastern  and  central    United  States.  It 
is  a  very  hardy  bird,  being  able  to  withstand 
extreme  cold,  and  to  live  on  the  buds  and  twigs 
of  trees  when  insects,  berries,   and  seeds  are 
not   available.    In   winter   ruffed  grouse   take 
shelter  at  night  in  a  "pocket"  of  snow  or  be- 
neath brush;  in  summer  they  usually  roost  in 
trees.  In  appearance  this  bird  is  not  unlike  the 
dusky   grouse    (No.    5),    (Photo   by   Marjorie 
Ruth  Ross) 


4.  EASTERN  BOB  WHITE   or  QUAIL.  Found 
in  the   eastern    United   States,   except  penin- 
sular Florida,  and  as  far  west  as  Colorado, 
except  New  Mexico  and  southern  Texas,  bob- 
white  or  quail  are  permanent  residents.  They 
like  open  fields  with  brushy  fence-corners  or 
low  bushes  near  at  hand  for  protection  from 
storm  and  enemies.   The  pretty  song  is  often 
translated  bob-white  or  buck-wheat.  The  nest 
is  made  upon  the  ground  under  a  bunch  of 
grass  or  some  bush,  and  in  it  are  laid  ten  to 
eighteen  white  eggs.   The  family  or  covey  will 
remain    together   until    spring,    and    at   night 
will  squat  close  together  in  a  circle  with  tails 
together  and  heads  out  ready  to  scatter  in  all 
directions  at  the  slightest  indication  of  dan- 
ger. In  winter  when  quail  are  in  this  forma- 
tion,   they   may    be   covered  with   snow;    and 
if  a  crust  of  sleet  or  ice  which  they  are  unable 
to   break   should  form,    the  entire   covey   may 
smother  or  starve.  (Photo  by  L.  W.  Brownell) 

5.  DUSKY  GROUSE.  A  relative  of  the  ruffed 
grouse,    this   species   is  found  in   the   Rocky 
Mountain  regions  of  the    United  States  and 
Canada.  (Photo  by  L.  W.  Brownell) 

6.  A  WOODCOCK  ON  ITS  NEST.  Except  in 
the  Far   West  the   woodcock   is  found  wide- 
spread over  the   United  States.  It  winters  in 
the  South.  It  lives  largely  on  earthworms  and 
grubs  for   which   it   probes   moist   soft    earth 
with  a  long,  sensitive  bill.  The  courtship  song- 
flights  of  the  male  are  unique:  with  a  call  to 
his  mate  he  rises  into  the  air;  by  a  series  of 
loops  he  flies  higher  and  higher  until  from  a 
height   of  about   two   hundred  feet   he   drops 
suddenly  to  a  place  on  the  ground  very  near 
where   he   started.    The   young   quickly    learn 
to  fly,   but  until  they  do  they  are  frequently 
carried  from  place  to  place  by  their  mother 
who  holds  them  between  her  legs  with  her  feet. 
(Photo  by  Olin  Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr.) 


ANIMALS 


The  beginning  of  \the  strut.  These  gobblers  are  strutting  before  the  camera,  hidden ^  by  brush, 
in  an  endeavor  to  attract  the  hen  turkey  whose  mating  call  the  camera  man  is  imitating 


THE  TURKEY 


That  the  turkey  and  not  the  eagle 
should  have  been  chosen  for  our  national 
bird,  was  the  conviction  of  Benjamin 
Franklin.  It  is  a  native  of  our  country,  it 
is  beautiful  as  to  plumage,  and  like  the 
American  Indian,  it  has  never  yielded  en- 
tirely to  the  influences  of  civilization. 
Through  the  hundreds  of  years  of  domes- 
tication it  still  retains  many  of  its  wild 
habits.  In  fact,  it  has  many  qualities  in 
common  with  the  red  man.  Take  for  in- 
stance its  sun  dance,  which  anyone  who 
is  willing  to  get  up  early  enough  in  the 
morning  and  who  has  a  flock  of  turkeys 
at  hand  can  witness.  Miss  Ada  Georgia 
made  a  pilgrimage  to  witness  this  dance 
and  describes  it  thus:  "While  the 
dawn  was  still  faint  and  gray,  the  long 
row  of  birds  on  the  ridge-pole  stood  up, 
stretched  legs  and  wings  and  flew  down 
into  the  orchard  beside  the  barnyard  and 
began  a  curious,  high-stepping,  *  flip-flop  ' 
dance  on  the  frosty  grass.  It  consisted  of 


little,  awkward,  up-and-down  jumps,  var- 
ied by  forward  springs  of  about  a  foot, 
with  lifted  wings.  Both  hens  and  males 
danced,  the  latter  alternately  strutting  and 
hopping  and  all '  singing/  the  hens  calling 
a  '  Quit,  quit/  the  males  accompanying 
with  a  high-keyed  rattle,  sounding  like  a 
hard  wood  stick  drawn  rapidly  along  a 
picket  fence.  As  the  sun  came  up  and  the 
sky  brightened,  the  exhibition  ended  sud- 
denly when  '  The  Captain/  a  great  thirty 
pound  gobbler  and  leader  of  the  flock, 
made  a  rush  at  one  of  his  younger  breth- 
ren who  had  dared  to  be  spreading  a  tail 
too  near  to  his  majesty/' 

The  bronze  breed  resembles  most 
closely  our  native  wild  turkey  and  is  there- 
fore chosen  for  this  lesson.  The  colors  and 
markings  of  the  plumage  form  the  bronze 
turkey's  chief  beauty.  Reaching  from  the 
skin  of  the  neck  halfway  to  the  middle  of 
the  back  is  a  collar  of  glittering  bronze 
with  greenish  and  purple  iridescence,  each 


139 


BIRDS 

feather  tipped  with  a  narrow  jet  band,  the  four.  On  the  inner  side  of  the  gob- 
The  remainder  of  the  back  is  black  except  bier's  legs,  about  one-third  the  bare  space 
that  each  feather  is  edged  with  bronze.  above  the  foot,  is  a  wicked-looking  spur 
The  breast  is  like  the  collar  and  at  its  which  is  a  most  effective  weapon.  The 
center  is  a  tassel  of  black  bristles  called  wings  are  large  and  powerful;  the  turkey 
the  beard  which  hangs  limply  downward  flies  well  for  such  a  large  bird  and  usually 
when  the  birds  are  feeding;  but  when  the  roosts  high,  choosing  trees  or  the  ridge- 
gobbler  stiffens  his  muscles  to  strut,  this  "  "  "  *  " 


pole  of  the  bam  for  this  purpose. 

In  many  ways  the  turkeys  are  not  more 
than  half  domesticated.  They  insistently 
prefer  to  spend  their  nights  out  of  doors 
instead  of  under  a  roof.  They  are  also 
great  wanderers  and  thrive  best  when  al- 
lowed to  forage  in  the  fields  and  woods  for 
a  part  of  their  food. 

The  gobbler  is  the  most  vainglorious 
bird  known  to  us;  when  he  struts  to  show 
his  flock  of  admiring  hens  how  beautiful 
he  is,  he  lowers  his  wings  and  spreads  the 

of  the  hen  are  like  those  of  the  gobbler      stiff  primary  quills  until  their  tips  scrape 
except  that  the  bronze  brilliance  of  breast,      the  ground,  lifting  meanwhile  into  a  semi- 


beard  is  thrust  proudly  forth.  Occasionally 
the  hen  turkeys  have  a  beard.  The  long 
quills,  or  primaries,  of  the  wings  are  barred 
across  with  bands  of  black  and  white; 
the  secondaries  are  very  dark,  luminous 
brown,  with  narrower  bars  of  white.  Each 
feather  of  the  fan-shaped  tail  is  banded 
with  black  and  brown  and  ends  with  a 
black  bar  tipped  with  white;  the  tail-cov- 
erts are  lighter  brown  but  also  have  the 
black  margin  edged  with  white.  The  colors 


neck,  and  wings  is  dimmed  by  the  faint 
line  of  white  which  tips  each  feather. 

The  heads  of  all  are  covered  with  a 
warty  wrinkled  skin,  bluish  white  on  the 
crown,  grayish  blue  about  the  eyes,  and 
the  other  parts  are  red.  Beneath  the  throat 
is  a  hanging  fold  called  the  wattle,  and 
above  the  beak  a  fleshy  pointed  knob 
called  the  caruncle,  which  on  the  gobbler 
is  prolonged  so  that  it  hangs  over  and  be- 
low the  beak.  When  the  bird  is  angry 
these  carunculated  parts  swell  and  grow 
more  vivid  in  color,  seeming  to  be  gorged 
with  blood.  The  color  of  the  skin  about 
the  head  is  more  extensive  and  brilliant  in 
the  gobblers  than  in  the  hens.  The  beak  is 
slightly  curved,  short,  stout,  and  sharp- 
pointed,  yellowish  at  the  tip  and  dark  at 
the  base. 

The  eyes  are  bright,  dark  hazel  with  a 
thin  red  line  of  iris.  Just  back  of  the  eye  is 
the  opening  of  the  ear,  seemingly  a  mere 
hole,  yet  leading  to  a  very  efficient  ear, 
upon  which  every  smallest  sound  im- 
pinges. 

The  legs  of  the  young  turkeys  are  nearly 
black,  fading  to  a  brownish  gray  when  ma- 
ture. The  legs  and  feet  are  large  and  stout, 
the  middle  toe  of  the  three  front  ones  be- 
ing nearly  twice  the  length  of  the  one  on 
either  side;  the  hind  toe  is  the  shortest  of 


circular  fan  his  beautiful  tail  feathers;  he 
protrudes  his  chest,  and  raises  the  irides- 
cent plumage  of  his  neck  like  a  ruff  to 
make  a  background  against  which  he 
throws  back  his  red,  white,  and  blue  deco- 
rated head.  He  moves  forward  with  slow 
and  mincing  steps  and  calls  attention  to 
his  grandeur  by  a  series  of  most  aggressive 
"  gobbles/7  But  we  must  say  for  the  gob- 
bler that  although  he  is  vain  he  is  also  a 
brave  fighter.  When  beginning  a  fight  he 
advances  with  wings  lowered  and  sidewise 
as  if  guarding  his  body  with  the  spread 
wing.  The  neck  and  the  sharp  beak  are 
outstretched  and  he  makes  the  attack 
so  suddenly  that  it  is  impossible  to  see 
whether  he  strikes  with  both  wing  and 
beak  or  only  with  the  latter,  as  with  fury 
he  pounces  upon  his  adversary  apparently 
striving  to  rip  his  neck  open  with  his  spurs. 
Turkey  hens  usually  begin  to  lay  in 
April  in  this  latitude  (southern  New 
York)  and  much  earlier  in  more  southern 
states.  At  nesting  time  each  turkey  hen 
strays  off  alone,  seeking  the  most  secluded 
spot  she  can  find  to  lay  the  large,  oval, 
brown-speckled  eggs.  Silent  and  sly,  she 
slips  away  to  the  place  daily,  by  the  most 
roundabout  ways,  and  never  moving  in 
the  direction  of  the  nest  when  she  thinks 
herself  observed.  Sometimes  the  sight  of 


140 

any  person  near  her  nest  will  cause  her  to 
desert  it.  The  writer  has  spent  many  hours 
when  a  child,  sneaking  in  fence  comers 
and  behind  stumps  and  tree  trunks,  stalk- 
ing turkeys'  nests.  Incubation  takes  four 
weeks.  The  female  is  a  most  persistent  sit- 
ter and  care  should  be  taken  to  see  that 
she  gets  a  good  supply  of  food  and  water 
at  this  time.  Good  sound  corn  or  wheat  is 
the  best  food  for  her  at  this  period.  When 
sitting  she  is  very  cross  and  will  fight  most 
courageously  when  molested  on  her  nest. 

Turkey  nestlings  are  rather  large,  with 
long,  bare  legs  and  scrawny,  thin  necks; 
they  are  very  delicate  during  the  first 
six  weeks  of  their  lives.  Their  call  is  a 
plaintive  "  peep,  weep/'  and  when  a  little 
turkey  feels  lost  its  cry  is  expressive  of 
great  fear  and  misery.  But  if  the  mother 
is  freely  ranging  she  does  not  seem  to  be 
much  affected  by  the  needs  of  her  brood; 
she  will  fight  savagely  for  them  if  they  are 
near  her,  but  if  they  stray,  and  they  usually 
do,  she  does  not  seem  to  miss  or  hunt  for 
them,  but  strides  serenely  on  her  way, 
keeping  up  a  constant  crooning  "kr-rit, 
kr-rit,"  to  encourage  them  to  follow.  As  a 
consequence,  the  chicks  are  lost,  or  get 
draggled  and  chilled  by  struggling  through 
wet  grass  and  leaves  that  are  no  obstacle 
to  the  mother's  strong  legs,  and  thus  many 
die.  If  the  mother  is  confined  in  a  coop 
it  should  be  so  large  and  roomy  that  she 
can  move  about  without  trampling  on  the 
chicks,  and  it  should  have  a  dry  floor,  since 
dampness  is  fatal  to  the  little  ones. 

For  the  first  week  the  chicks  should  be 
fed  five  times  a  day,  and  for  the  next  five 
weeks  they  should  have  three  meals  a  day. 
They  should  be  given  only  just  about 
enough  to  fill  each  little  crop  and  none 
should  be  left  over  to  be  trodden  under 
their  awkward  little  feet.  Their  quarters 
should  be  kept  clean  and  free  from  vermin. 

SUGGESTED  READING  — Farm  Animals, 
by  James  G.  Lawson;  also,  readings  on 
pages  28-29. 

LESSON  35 
TURKEYS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  turkey  is  a 
native  of  America.  It  was  introduced  into 


ANIMALS 

Spain  from  Mexico  about  1518,  and  since 
then  has  been  domesticated.  However, 
there  are  still  in  some  parts  of  the  coun- 
try flocks  of  wild  turkeys.  It  is  a  beautiful 
bird  and  has  interesting  habits. 

METHOD  —  If  the  pupils  could  visit  a 
flock  of  turkeys,  the  lesson  would  be  given 
to  a  better  advantage.  If  this  is  impossible, 
ask  the  questions  a  few  at  a  time  and  let 
those  pupils  who  have  opportunities  for 
observing  the  turkeys  give  their  answers 
before  the  class. 

OBSERVATIONS—  i.  Of  what  breed  are 
the  turkeys  you  are  studying:  Bronze, 
Black,  Buff,  White  Holland,  or  Narragan- 
sett? 

2.  What  is  the  general  shape  and  size 
of  the  turkey?  Describe  its  plumage,  not- 
ing every  color  which  you  can  see  in  it. 
Does  the  plumage  of  the  hen  turkey  difr 
fer  from  that  of  the  gobbler? 

3.  What  is  the  covering  of  the  head  of 
the  turkey,  what  is  its  color  and  how  far 
does  it  extend  down  the  neck  of  the  bird? 
Is  it  always  the  same  color;  if  not,  what 
causes  the  change?  Is  the  head  covering 
alike  in  shape  and  size  on  the  male  and 
the  female?  What  is  the  part  called  that 
hangs  from  the  front  of  the  throat  below 
the  beak?  From  above  the  beak? 

4.  What  is  the  color  of  the  beak?  Is  it 
short  or  long,  straight  or  curved?  Where 
are  the  nostrils  situated? 

5.  What  is  the  color  of  the  turkey's 
eyes?  Do  you  think  it  is  a  keen-sighted 
bird? 

6.  Where  are  the  ears?  Do  they  show 
as  plainly  as  a  chicken's  ears  do?  Are  tur 
keys  quick  of  hearing? 

7.  Do  turkeys  scratch  like  hens?  Are 
they  good  runners?  Describe  the  feet  and 
legs  as  to  shape,  size,  and  color.  Has  the 
male  a  spur  on  his  legs,  and  if  so,  where  is 
it  situated?  For  what  is  it  used? 

8.  Can  turkeys  fly  well?  Are  the  wings 
small  or  comparatively  large  and  strong 
for  the  weight  of  the  body?  Do  turkeys 
prefer  high  or  low  places  for  perching 
when  they  sleep?  Is  it  well  to  house  and 
confine  them  in  small  buildings  and  parks 
as  is  done  with  other  fowls? 

9.  Tell,  as  nearly  as  you  can  discover  by 
close  observation,  how  the  gobbler  sets 


BIRDS  M1 

each  part  of  his  plumage  when  he  is  scribe  the  turkey's  egg,  as  well  as  you  can, 

"  showing  off  "  or  strutting.  "What  do  you  as  to  color,  shape,  and  size.  Can  one  tell  it 

think  is  the  bird's  purpose  in  thus  exhibit-  by  the  taste  from  an  ordinary  hen's  egg? 

ing  his  fine  feathers?  Does  the  "  king  of  About  how  many  eggs  does  the  turkey  hen 

the  flock  "  permit  any  such  action  by  lay  in  her  nest  before  she  begins  to  "  get 

other  gobblers  in  his  company?  broody  "  and  want  to  sit? 

10.  Are  turkeys  timid  and  cowardly  or  13.  How  many  days  of  incubation  ^  are 
independent  and  brave,  ready  to  meet  and  required  to  hatch  the  turkey  chick?  Is  it  as 
fight  anything  which  they  think  is  threat-  downy  and  pretty  as  other  little  chicks? 
ening  to  their  comfort  and  safety?  How  often  should  the  young  chicks  be  fed, 

11.  When  turkeys  fight,  what  parts  of  and  what  food  do  you  think  is  best  for 
their  bodies  seem  to  be  used  as  weapons?  them?  Are  turkey  chicks  as  hardy  as  other 
Does  the  male  "  gobble  "  during  a  fight,  chicks? 

or  only  as  a  challenge  or  in  triumph  when  14.  Is  the  turkey  hen  generally  a  good 

victorious?  Do  the  hen  turkeys  ever  fight,  mother?  Is  she  cross  or  gentle  when  sitting 

or  only  the  males?  and  when  brooding  her  young?  Is  it  pos- 

12.  How  early  in  the  spring  does  the  sible  to  keep  the  mother  turkey  as  closely 
turkey  hen  begin  to  lay?  Does  she  nest  confined  with  her  brood  as  it  is  with  the 
about  the  poultry  yard  and  the  bams  or  is  mother  hen?  What  supplies  should  be 
she  likely  to  seek  some  secret  and  distant  given  to  her  in  the  way  of  food,  grits,  dust- 
spot  where  she  may  hide  her  eggs?  De-  baths,  etc.? 


BIRDS  OF  MARSH  AND  SHORE 


1.  SHOVELLER,  SPOONBILL,  OR  BROADBILL.  The 
range  of  the  shoveller  extends  from  Alaska  in 
summer  to  Colombia,  South  America,  in  win- 
ter. With  its  uniquely  long,  broad  bill,  this  shal- 
low-water  'dabbler"    gathers   up   water  and 
ooze;    by  means  of  the   comblike  teeth  with 
which  the  bill  is  equipped  it  strains  out  the  in- 
sects and  vegetable  matter  which  are  its  fa- 
vorite food.  (Photo  by  L.  W.  Brownell) 

2.  THE  MALLARD.  The  range  of  the  mallard  in 
North  America  extends  in  summer  south  of 
the  Arctic  circle,  east  to  Hudson  Bay,  and  south 
to  Lower  California  and  Texas.  In  winter  it  is 
found   from    the    Aleutian    Islands    south    to 
Panama.  Being  a  "dabbler"  the  mallard  gen- 
erally feeds  in  shallow  water,  but  it  is  very 
adaptable  as  to  food  and  environment.  From 
the  economic  standpoint  it  is  the  most  impor- 
tant duck  in  the  world,  since  it  is  the  ancestor 
of  most  domestic  ducks,  is  'widely  distributed, 
and  produces  meat  of  good  quality.  (Photo  by 
L.  W.  Brownell) 

3.  LESSER  SCAUP  DUCKS.  This  is  one  of  the 
most  common  ducks  in   the   open  waters  of 
rivers,  larger  lakes  and  bays,  and  along  sea- 
coasts.  Its  food,  consisting  chiefly   of  insects, 
crustaceans,  water  snails,  tadpoles,  and  aquatic 
plants,  it  secures  by  diving.  In  the  Gulf  states, 
the  lesser  scaup  is  often  called  the  "  raft  duck  " 
because  of  the  great  numbers  that  collect  into 
flocks  and  move  about  on  the  water.  These 
rafts  are  sometimes  a  mile   long.  (Photo   by 
S.  A.  Grimes) 

4.  PIED-BILLED  GREBE  ON  ITS  NEST.  The  sum- 
mer range  of  this  grebe  is  from  southern  Canada 
to  the  southern  United  States;  its  winter  range 
extends  to  Mexico  and  Cuba.  It  moves  south 
when  ice  forms  on  northern  streams,  and  re- 
turns when  it  breaks  up  in  spring.  Its  food 
consists  chiefly  of  aquatic  animals  and  some 
water  plants.  To  escape  danger  it  dives  rather 
than  flies.  This  grebe,  like  others,  often  carries 
its  young  on  its  back,  thus  hiding  them  from 
observers;  the  mother  can  even  dive  with  the 
young  and  when  she  comes  again  to  the  sur- 
face keep  them  still  concealed.  (Photo  by  Olin 
Sewall  Pettingill,  Jr.) 

5.  SPOTTED  SANDPIPER  APPROACHING  ITS  NEST. 
The  sandpiper  (also  called  tip-up  or  tip-tail), 
said  to  be  the  most  widely  and  commonly  dis- 
tributed shore  bird  in  North  America,  is  found 
in  regions  about  both  fresh  and  salt  water.  Al- 
though it  can  swim  and  dive  readily,  its  food 
consists    chiefly    of    grasshoppers,    cutworms, 
grubs,  and  pests  of  cultivated  lands.  The  nest, 
a  hollow  in  the  ground,  may  be  along  shores  or 
even  in  cultivated  fields  far  from  water;  it  is 
built  by  the  united  efforts  of  the  pair.  (Photo 
by  L.  W.  Brownell) 

6.  CHICKS  OF  WILSON'S  PLOVER,  These  newly 
hatched  chicks  were  picked  up  on  a  sandy  beach 


and  "  posed 3}  in  a  shell.  (Photo  by  Olin  Sewall 
Pettingill,  Jr.) 

7.  WILSON'S  PLOVER  AT  ITS  NEST.  (See  also 
No.  6.)  Wilson's  plover  is  found  in  the  coastal 
regions  of  southern  North  America  and  Cen~ 
tral  America.  It  feeds  on  the  tiny  sea  creatures 
that  the  falling  tide  leaves  strewn  along  mud 
flats   and    sandy    beaches.    The   nest,   usually 
placed  above  high  water  on  a  sandy  beach,  is 
a  hollowed  out  place  in  the  sand.  The  young 
and  eggs  blend  so  with  the  sand  as  to  be  almost 
unnoticeable.  In  the  one  pictured  here,  note 
one  egg  beneath  the  female,  one  in  front  of  her, 
and  newly  hatched  chick  behind  her.  (Photo 
by  S.  A.  Grimes) 

8.  KING  RAIL  ON  ITS  NEST.  The  range  of  this 
bird  is  in  the  central  and  southern  portions  of 
the  eastern  half  of  the  United  States.  Its  food 
consists  largely  of  insects  of  cultivated  lands, 
which  it  secures  from   the    edges   of  swampy 
areas  in  upla?ids.  Rails  are  found  chiefly  in 
grassy  marshes.  The  legs  are  strong  and  the 
wings  are  weak,  and  hence  when  pursued  they 
will  run  or  hide,  but  will  fly  only  as  a  last  resort. 
(Photo  by  S.  A.  Grimes) 

9.  THE  COMMON  TERN  AT  ITS  NEST.  Terns 
live  in  both  the  Eastern  and  Western  Hemi- 
spheres. 

Terns  nest  in  colonies,  usually  on  the  open 
sand  of  an  island  beach.  They  can  be  distin- 
guished from  gulls  by  their  more  pointed  bills, 
narrower  wings,  and  by  their  habit  of  diving  or 
swimming  to  catch  their  food,  which  consists  of 
small  fish,  aquatic  worms,  and  insects.  (Photo  by 
S.  A.  Grimes) 

10.  AMERICAN  EGRET,  GREAT  WHITE  EGRET. 
OR  WHITE  HERON.  The  summer  range  of  this 
egret  is  chiefly  from  the  southern  United  States 
south  to  Patagonia.  In  late  summer  it  migrates 
northward  to  Maine.  Its  winter  range  is  Colo- 
rado,  Texas,  and  South  Carolina  southward. 
The  egrets  and  other  herons  are   commonly 
found  about  the  shores  of  lakes,  rivers,  or  bays. 
They  usually  nest  in  flocks.  Once  in  danger  of 
extinction,  they  are  now  under  protection  and 
are  increasing  in  numbers.  (Photo  by  S.  A. 
Grimes) 

11.  AN  AMERICAN  BITTEGRN  ON  THE  DEFEN- 
SIVE. This  inhabitant  of  the  marshes  ranges  in 
summer  across  the  North  American  continent 
from  central  Canada  to  the  southern  United 
States.  In  winter  it  is  found  from  the  southern 
United  States  to  Panama.  When  approached 
bitterns  fall  into  a  rigid  pose  which  they  hold 
until  the  intruder  retires  or  frightens  them  into 
flight.  The  cry  of  this  bird  is  most  arresting  and 
unusual.  It  is  compared  to  the  sound  of  driving 
a  stake  or  the  sound  of  a  pump  in  action.  Frogs, 
snakes,  small  fish,  mice,  and  insects  comprise 
its  food.  (Photo  by  S.  A.  Grimes) 


FISHES 


It  remains  yet  unresolved  whether  the  happiness  of  a  man  in  this  world  doth  con- 
sist more  in  contemplation  or  action.  Concerning  which  two  opinions  I  shall  forebear 
to  add  a  third  by  declaring  my  own,  and  rest  myself  contented  in  telling  you  that 
both  of  these  meet  together,  and  do  most  properly  belong  to  the  most  honest,  ingen- 
ious, quiet  and  harmless  art  of  angling.  And  first  I  tell  you  what  some  have  observed, 
and  I  have  found  to  be  a  real  truth,  that  the  very  sitting  by  the  riverside  is  not  only  the 
quietest  and  the  fittest  place  for  contemplation,  but  will  invite  an  angler  to  it. 

—  ISAAK  WALTON 


Dear,  human,  old  Isaak  Walton  discov- 
ered that  nature-study,  fishing,  and  phi- 
losophy were  akin  and  as  inevitably  related 
as  the  three  angles  of  a  triangle.  And  yet 
it  is  surprising  how  little  the  fish  have  been 
used  as  subjects  for  nature  lessons.  Every 
brook  and  pond  is  a  treasure  to  the  teacher 
who  will  find  what  there  is  in  it  and  who 
knows  what  may  be  got  out  of  it. 

Almost  any  of  the  fishes  found  in  a 
brook  or  pond  may  be  kept  in  an  aquar- 
ium for  a  few  days  of  observation  in  the 
schoolroom.  A  large  water  pail  or  a  bucket 
does  very  well  if  there  is  no  glass  aquar- 
ium. The  water  in  an  aquarium  should 
be  changed  whenever  it  becomes  foul. 
The  practice  should  be  established,  once 
for  all,  of  putting  these  finny  prisoners 
back  into  the  identical  body  of  water  from 
which  they  were  taken.  Much  damage  has 
been  done  by  liberating  fish  in  bodies  of 
water  where  they  do  not  belong.  Many 
fish  have  cannibalistic  traits:  black  bass, 


for  instance,  if  they  are  either  the  new- 
comers or  the  original  inhabitants,  will 
be  likely  to  attack  and  destroy  other 
fish.  Besides,  even  if  the  new  home  pro- 
vides suitable  living  conditions  for  the 
newcomers,  they  may  upset  the  balance 
existing  among  the  various  forms  of  plant 
and  animal  life  already  there. 

SUGGESTED  READING —  The  Book  of 
Fishes,  by  J.  O.  LaGorce;  Cold-blooded 
Vertebrates,  by  Samuel  F.  Hildebrand, 
Charles  W.  Gilmore,  and  Doris  M.  Coch- 
ran,  Vol.  8  of  Smithsonian  Scientific  Se- 
ries; The  Complete  Aquarium  Book,  by 
W.  T.  Innes;  Field  Book  of  Ponds  and 
Streams,  by  Ann  H.  Morgan;  A  History  of 
Fishes,  by  J.  R.  Norman;  Nature  —  by  Sea- 
side and  Wayside,  by  Mary  G.  Phillips 
and  Julia  M.  Wright,  Book  3,  Plants  and 
Animals;  Our  Great  Outdoors:  Reptiles, 
Amphibians  and  Fishes,  by  C.  W.  G. 
Eifrig;  Young  Folks'  Book  of  Fishes,  by 
Ida  M.  Mellen.  See  also  Bibliography. 


THE  GOLDFISH 


Once  upon  a  time,  if  stories  are  true, 
there  lived  a  king  called  Midas,  whose 
touch  turned  everything  to  gold.  When- 
ever I  see  goldfish,  I  wonder  if,  perhaps, 
King  Midas  were  not  a  Chinese  and  if  he 
perchance  did  not  handle  some  of  the  lit- 
tle fish  in  Orient  streams.  But  common 
man  has  learned  a  magic  as  wonderful  as 
that  of  King  Midas,  although  it  does  not 


act  so  immediately,  for  it  is  through  his 
agency  in  selecting  and  breeding  that 
we  have  gained  these  exquisite  fish  for 
our  aquaria.  In  the  streams  of  China  the 
goldfish,  which  were  the  ancestors  of  these 
effulgent  creatures,  wore  safe  green  colors 
like  the  shiners  in  our  brooks;  and  if  any 
goldfish  escape  from  our  fountains  and 
run  wild,  their  progeny  return  to  their 


FISHES 


145 


native  olive-green  color.  There  are  many 
of  such  dull-colored  goldfish  in  the  lakes 
and  rivers  of  our  country.  It  is  almost  in- 
conceivable that  one  of  the  brilliant-col- 
ored fishes,  if  it  chanced  to  escape  into  our 
ponds?  should  escape  the  fate  of  being 
eaten  by  some  larger  fish  attracted  by  such 
glittering  bait. 

The  goldfish,  as  we  see  it  in  the  aquar- 
ium, is  brilliant  orange  above  and  pale 
lemon-yellow  below;  there  are  many  speci- 
mens that  are  adorned  with  black  patches. 
And  as  if  this  fish  were  bound  to  imitate 
the  precious  metals,  there  are  individuals 
which  are  silver  instead  of  gold;  they  are 
oxidized  silver  above  and  polished  silver 
below.  The  goldfish  are  closely  related 
to  the  carp  and  can  live  in  waters  that 
are  stale.  If  water  plants  and  scavengers, 
such  as  water  snails,  are  kept  in  the 
aquarium,  the  water  does  not  become  foul. 
The  water,  then,  need  not  be  changed;  but 
unless  the  aquarium  is  covered,  it  will  be 
necessary  to  add  water  to  replace  that 
which  evaporates.  Goldfish  should  not  be 


fed  too  lavishly.  An  inch  square  of  one  of 
the  sheets  of  prepared  fish  food  we  have 
found  a  fair  daily  ration  for  five  medium 
sized  fish;  these  fish  are  more  likely  to 


"DorsaT  fi 


Helen  F.  Hill 


Fish  in  a  hatchery  pond 


Goldfish  with  parts  named 

die  from  overfeeding  than  from  starving. 
Goldfish  are  naturally  long-lived;  Miss  Ada 
Georgia  kept  them  until  seven  years  old 
in  a  school  aquarium;  and  there  is  on  rec- 
ord one  goldfish  that  lived  nine  years. 

Too  often  the  wonderful  common 
things  are  never  noticed  because  of  their 
commonness;  and  there  is  no  better  in- 
stance of  this  than  the  form  and  move- 
ments of  a  fish.  It  is  an  animal  in  many 
ways  similar  to  animals  that  live  on  land; 
but  its  form  and  structure  are  such  that  it 
is  perfectly  adapted  to  live  in  water  all 
its  life;  there  are  none  of  the  true  fishes 
which  live  portions  of  their  lives  on  land 
as  do  the  frogs.  The  first  peculiarity  of  the 
fish  is  its  shape.  Looked  at  from  above,  the 
broader  part  of  the  body  is  near  the  front 
end,  which  is  rounded  or  pointed  so  as  to 
cut  the  water  readily.  The  long,  narrow, 
hind  portion  of  the  body  with  the  tail  acts 
as  a  propeller  in  the  sense  that  it  pushes 
the  body  forward;  this  movement  is  not 
at  all  similar  to  the  action  of  an  airplane 
propeller  or  a  ship's  screw.  Seen  from  the 
side,  the  body  is  a  smooth,  graceful  oval 
and  this  form  is  especially  adapted  to 
move  through  the  water  swiftly,  as  can 
be  demonstrated  to  the  pupil  by  cutting  a 
model  of  the  fish  from  wood  and  trying 
to  move  it  through  the  water  sidewise. 

Normally,  the  fish  has  seven  fins,  one 
along  the  back  called  the  dorsal,  one  at 
the  end  of  the  tail  called  the  tail  or  caudal 
fin,  one  beneath  the  rear  end  of  the  body 
called  the  anal?  a  pair  on  the  lower  side 


ANIMALS 


N.  Y.  State  Conservation  Dept. 

Large-mouthed  black  bass 
Aplites  salmoides 

of  the  body  called  the  ventrals,  and  a  pair 
just  back  of  the  gill  openings  called  the 
pectorals.  All  these  fins  play  their  own 
parts  in  the  movements  of  the  fish.  The 
dorsal  fin  is  usually  higher  in  front  than 
behind  and  can  be  lifted  or  shut  down  like 
a  fan.  This  fin  when  it  is  lifted  gives  the 
fish  greater  height  and  it  can  be  twisted 
to  one  side  or  the  other  and  thus  be  made 
a  factor  in  steering.  The  anal  fin  on  the 
lower  side  acts  in  a  similar  manner.  The 
tail  fin  is  the  propeller  and  sends  the  body 
forward  by  pressing  backward  on  the 
water,  first  on  one  side  and  then  on  the 
other,  being  used  like  a  scull.  The  tail 
fin  varies  in  shape  very  much  in  different 
species.  In  the  goldfish  it  is  fanlike,  with 
a  deeply  notched  hind  edge,  but  in  some 
it  is  rounded  or  square.  The  paired  fins 
correspond  anatomically  to  our  arms  and 
legs,  the  pectorals  representing  the  arms, 
the  ventrals  the  legs. 

Fishes7  eyes  have  no  eyelid  but  the  eye- 
ball is  movable,  and  this  often  gives  the 
impression  that  the  fish  winks.  Fishes  are 
necessarily  nearsighted  since  the  lens  of 
the  eye  has  to  be  spherical  in  order  to  see 
in  the  water.  The  sense  of  smell  is  located 
in  a  little  sac  to  which  the  nostril  leads; 
the  nostrils  are  small  and  often  partitioned 
and  may  be  seen  on  either  side  of  the 
snout.  The  nostrils  of  a  fish  have  no  con- 
nection whatever  with  breathing. 


The  tongue  of  the  fish  is  very  bony  or 
gristly  and  immovable.  Very  little  sense 
of  taste  is  developed  in  it.  The  shape, 
number,  and  position  of  the  teeth  vary  ac- 
cording to  the  food  habits  of  the  fish.  The 
commonest  teeth  are  fine,  sharp,  and  short 
and  are  arranged  in  pads,  as  seen  in  the 
bullhead.  Some  fish  have  blunt  teeth  suit- 
able for  crushing  shells.  Some  herbivorous 
fishes  have  sharp  teeth  with  serrated  edges, 
while  those  living  upon  crabs  and  snails 
have  incisor-like  teeth.  In  some  species  we 
find  several  types  of  teeth;  in  others,  such 
as  goldfish  or  minnows  in  general,  the 
teeth  may  be  entirely  absent.  The  teeth 
are  borne  not  only  on  the  jaws  but  also 
in  the  roof  of  the  mouth,  on  the  tongue, 
and  in  the  throat. 

The  ear  of  the  fish  has  neither  outside 
form  nor  opening  and  is  very  imperfect 
in  comparison  with  that  of  man.  Extend- 
ing along  the  sides  of  the  body  from  head 
to  tail  is  a  line  of  modified  scales  contain- 
ing small  tubes  connecting  with  nerves; 


N.  Y.  State  Conservation  Dept. 

A  chain  pickerel 
Esox  niger 


N.  Y.  State  Conservation  Dept. 

A  yellow  perch 
Perca  flavescens 

this  is  called  the  lateral  line  and  it  is  be- 
lieved that  it  is  in  some  way  connected 
with  the  fish's  senses,  perhaps  with  the 
sense  of  hearing. 

The  covering  of  fishes  varies:  most  fish, 
such  as  the  yellow  perch  and  black  bass, 
are  sheathed  in  an  armor  of  scales;  others, 
such  as  the  bullhead,  have  only  a  smooth 
skin.  All  fish  are  covered  with  a  slimy 
substance  which  somewhat  reduces  fric- 
tion as  they  swim  through  the  water. 

In  order  to  understand  how  the  fish 
breathes  we  must  examine  its  gills.  In 
front,  just  above  the  entrance  to  the  gullet, 
are  several  bony  ridges  which  bear  two 
rows  of  pinkish  fringes;  these  are  the  gill 
arches  and  the  fringes  are  the  gills.  The 


FISHES 

gills  are  filled  with  tiny  bloodvessels,  and 
as  the  water  passes  over  them,  the  impu- 
rities of  the  blood  pass  out  through  the 
thin  skin  of  the  gills  and  the  life-giving 
oxygen  passes  in.  Since  most  fish  cannot 
make  use  of  air  unless  it  is  dissolved  in 
water,  it  is  very  important  that  the  water 
in  the  aquarium  provide  a  sufficient  sur- 
face area  to  enable  the  fish  to  secure  air. 
The  gill  arches  also  bear  a  series  of  bony 
processes  called  gill-rakers.  Their  function 
is  to  prevent  the  escape  of  food  through 
the  gills  while  it  is  being  swallowed,  and 
they  vary  in  size  according  to  the  food 
habits  of  the  fish.  We  note  that  the  fish  in 
the  aquarium  constantly  opens  and  closes 
the  mouth;  this  action  draws  the  water 
into  the  throat  and  forces  it  out  over  the 
gills  and  through  the  gill  openings;  this, 
then,  is  the  act  of  breathing. 

SUGGESTED  READING— Goldfish  Culture 
for  Amateurs,  by  A.  E.  Hodge  and  Arthur 
Derham;  Goldfish,  Their  Care  in  Small 
Aquaria  and  Ponds,  by  E.  C.  Fearnow 
(Document  980,  Bureau  of  Fisheries, 
Washington,  D.  C.);  The  Pet  Book,  by 
Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  readings  on  page 
144. 

LESSON  36 

A  STUDY  OF  THE  FISH 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  A  fish  lives  in  the 
water  where  it  must  breathe,  move,  and 
find  its  food.  The  water  world  is  quite 
different  from  the  air  world  and  the  fish 
have  developed  forms,  senses,  and  habits 
which  fit  them  for  life  in  the  water. 

METHOD  —  The  goldfish  is  used  as  a 
subject  for  this  lesson  because  it  is  so 
conveniently  kept  where  the  children  may 
see  it.  However,  a  shiner  or  other  minnow 
would  do  as  well. 

Before  the  pupils  begin  the  study,  place 
the  diagram  shown  on  p.  145  on  the  black- 
board, with  all  the  parts  labeled;  thus 
the  pupils  will  be  able  to  learn  the  parts 
of  the  fish  by  consulting  it?  and  not  be 
compelled  to  commit  them  to  memory 
arbitrarily.  It  would  be  well  to  associate 
the  goldfish  with  a  geography  lesson  on 
China. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Where  do  fish  live? 


147 


2.  What  is  the  shape  of  a  fish  when 
seen  from  above?  Where  is  the  widest 
part?  What  is  its  shape  seen  from  the 
side?  Think  if  you  can  in  how  many  ways 
the  shape  of  the  fish  is  adapted  for  mov- 
ing swiftly  through  the  water. 

3.  How  many  fins  has  the  fish?  Make 
a  sketch  of  the  goldfish  with  all  its  fins 
and  name  them  from  the  diagram  on  the 
blackboard. 

4.  How  many  fins  are  there  in  all?  Four 
of  these  fins  are  in  pairs;  where  are  they 
situated?  What  are  they  called?  Which 
pair  corresponds  to  our  arms?  Which  to 
our  legs? 

5.  Describe  the  pectoral  fins.  How  are 
they  used?  Are  they  kept  constantly  mov- 
ing? Do  they  move  together  or  alternately? 
How  are  they  used  when  the  fish  swims 
backward? 

6.  How  are  the  ventral  fins  used?  How 
do  they  assist  the  fish  when  swimming? 

7.  Observe  a  dorsal  fin  and  an  anal  fin. 
How  are  these  used  when  the  fish  is 
swimming? 

8.  With  what  fin  does  the  fish  push 
itself  through  the  water?  Make  a  sketch 
of  the  tail.  Note  if  it  is  square,  rounded, 
or  notched  at  the  end. 

9.  Watch  the  goldfish  swim  and  de- 
scribe the  action  of  all  the  fins  while  it 
is  in  motion.  In  what  position  are  the  fins 
when  the  fish  is  at  rest? 

10.  What  is  the  nature  of  the  covering 
of  the  fish?  Are  the  scales  large  or  small? 
In  what  direction  do  they  seem  to  over- 
lap? Of  what  use  to  the  fish  is  this  scaly 
covering? 

11.  Can  you  see  a  line  which  extends 
from  the  upper  part  of  the  gill  opening, 
along  the  side  to  the  tail?  This  is  called 
the  lateral  line.  Do  you  think  it  is  of  any 
use  to  the  fish? 

12.  Note  carefully  the  eyes  of  the  fish. 
Describe  the  pupil  and  the  iris.  Are  the 
eyes  placed  so  that  the  fish  can  see  in 
all  directions?  Can  they  be  moved  so  as 
to  see  better  in  any  direction?  Does  the 
fish  wink?  Has  it  any  eyelids?  Do  you 
know  why  fish  are  nearsighted? 

13.  Can  you  see  the  nostrils?  Is  there 
a    little   wartlike   projection    connected 


ANIMALS 


with   the  nostril?  Do  you  think  fishes 
breathe  through  their  nostrils? 

14.  Describe  the  mouth  of  the  fish. 
Does  it  open  upward,  downward,  or  di- 
rectly in  front?  What  sort  of  teeth  have 
fish?  How  does  the  fish  catch  its  prey? 
Does  the  lower  or  upper  jaw  move  in  the 
process  of  eating? 

15.  Is  the  mouth  kept  always  in  mo- 
tion? Do  you  think  the  fish  is  swallowing 
water  all  the  time?  Do  you  know  why  it 
does  this?  Can  you  see  a  wide  opening 
along  the  sides  of  the  head  behind  the 
gill  cover?  Does  the  gill  cover  move  with 
the  movement  of  the  mouth?  How  does  a 
fish  breathe? 

16.  What  are  the  colors  of  the  goldfish 
above  and  below?  What  would  happen  to 
our  beautiful  goldfish  if  they  were  put 
in  a  brook  with  other  fish?  Why  could 
they    not    hide?    Do    you    know    what 
happens  to  the  colors   of  the  goldfish 
when  they  run  wild  in  our  streams  and 
ponds? 

17.  Can  you  find  in  books  or  cyclo- 
pedias where  the  goldfish  came  from?  Are 
they  gold  and  silver  in  color  in  the  streams 
where  they  are  native?  Do  you  think  that 
they  had  originally  the  long,  slender,  swal- 
low-tails which  we  see  sometimes  in  gold- 
fish? How  have  the  beautiful  colors  and 
graceful  forms  of  the  gold  and  silver  fishes 
been  developed? 

I  have  my  world,  and  so  have  you, 
A  tiny  universe  for  two, 


A  bubble  by  the  artist  blown, 
Scarcely  more  fragile  than  our  own, 
Where  you  have  all  a  whale  could  wish, 
Happy  as  Eden's  primal  fish. 
Manna  is  dropt  you  thrice  a  day 
From  some  land  heaven  not  far  away, 
And  still  you  snatch  its  softening  crumbs, 
Nor,   more   than   we,    think  whence  it 

comes. 

No  toil  seems  yours  but  to  explore 
Your  cloistered  realm  from  shore  to  shore; 
Sometimes  you  trace  its  limits  round, 
Sometimes  its  limpid  depths  you  sound, 
Or  hover  motionless  midway, 
Lilce  gold-red  clouds  at  set  of  day; 
Erelong  you  whirl  with  sudden  whim 
Ofi  to  your  globe's  most  distant  rim, 
Where,  greatened  by  the  watery  lens, 
Methinlcs  no  dragon  of  the  fens 
Flashed  huger  scales  against  the  sky, 
Roused  by  Sir  Bevis  or  Sir  Guy; 
And  the  one  eye  that  meets  my  view, 
Lidless  and  strangely  largening,  too, 
Like  that  of  conscience  in  the  dark, 
Seems  to  make  me  its  single  mark. 
What  a  benignant  lot  is  yours 
That  have  an  own  All-out-of-doors, 
No  words  to  spell,  no  sums  to  do, 
No  Nepos  and  no  parlyvool 
How  happy  you,  without  a  thought 
Of    such    cross    things    as    Must    and 

Ought  — 

I  too  the  happiest  of  boys 
To  see  and  share  your  golden  joys! 
—  "  THE  ORACLE  OF  THE  GOLDFISHES," 

LOWELL 


THE  BULLHEAD 

The  bull-head  does  usually  dwell  and  hide  himself  in  holes  or  amongst  stones  in 
clear  water;  and  in  very  hot  days  will  lie  a  long  time  very  still  and  sun  himself  and  will 
be  easy  to  be  seen  on  any  flat  stone  or  gravel;  at  which  time  he  will  suffer  an  angler  to 
put  a  hook  baited  with  a  small  worm  very  near  into  his  mouth;  and  lie  never  refuses 
to  bite,  nor  indeed,  to  be  caught  with  the  worst  of  anglers.  —  ISAAK  WALTON 


When  one  looks  a  bullhead  in  the  face 
one  is  glad  that  it  is  not  a  real  bull,  for 
its  barbels  give  it  an  appearance  quite  fit 
for  the  making  of  a  nightmare;  and  yet 
from  the  standpoint  of  the  bullhead,  how 


truly  beautiful  those  fleshy  feelers  are! 
For  without  them  how  could  it  feel  its 
way  about  searching  for  food  in  the  mud? 
Two  of  these  barbels  stand  straight  up; 
the  two  largest  ones  stand  out  on  each 


FISHES 


149 


Common  bullhead 
Ameiurus  nebulosus 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 


side  of  the  mouth,  and  two  pairs  of  short 
ones  adorn  the  lower  lip,  the  smallest  pair 
at  the  middle. 

As  the  fish  moves  about,  it  is  easy  to 
see  that  the  large  barbels  at  the  side  of  the 
mouth  are  of  the  greatest  use;  it  keeps 
them  in  a  constantly  advancing  move- 
ment, feeling  of  everything  it  meets.  The 
upper  ones  stand  straight  up,  keeping 
watch  for  whatever  news  there  may  be 
from  above;  the  two  lower  ones  spread 
apart  and  follow  rather  than  precede  the 
fish,  seeming  to  test  what  lies  below.  The 
upper  and  lower  pairs  seem  to  test  things 
as  they  are,  while  the  large  side  pair  deal 
with  what  is  going  to  be.  The  broad 
mouth  seems  to  be  formed  for  taking  in 
all  things  eatable,  for  the  bullhead  lives 
on  almost  anything  alive  or  dead  that  it 
discovers  as  it  noses  about  in  the  mud. 
Nevertheless,  it  has  its  notions  about  its 
food,  for  I  have  repeatedly  seen  one  draw 
material  into  its  mouth  through  its  breath- 
ing motion  and  then  spew  it  out  with  a 
vehemence  one  would  hardly  expect  from 
such  a  phlegmatic  fish. 

Although  it  has  feelers  which  are  very 
efficient,  it  also  has  perfectly  good  eyes 
which  it  uses  to  excellent  purpose;  note 
how  promptly  it  moves  to  the  other  side 
of  the  aquarium  when  we  are  trying  to 
study  it.  The  eyes  are  not  large;  the  pupils 
are  black  and  oval  and  are  rimmed  with 
a  narrow  band  of  shiny  pale  yellow.  The 
eyes  are  prominent  so  that  when  moved 
backward  and  forward  they  gain  a  view 


of  the  enemy  in  the  rear  or  at  the  front 
while  the  head  is  motionless.  It  seems 
strange  to  see  such  a  pair  of  pale  yellow, 
almost  white  eyes  in  such  a  dark  body. 

The  general  shape  of  the  front  part  of 
the  body  is  flat,  in  fact,  it  is  shaped  de- 
cidedly like  a  tadpole;  this  shape  is  espe- 
cially fitted  for  groping  about  muddy 


bottoms.  The  flat  effect  of  the  body  is  em- 
phasized by  the  gill  covers  opening  below 
rather  than  at  the  sides,  every  pulsation 
widening  the  broad  neck.  The  pectoral 
fins  also  open  out  on  the  same  plane  as 
the  body,  although  they  can  be  turned 
at  an  angle  if  necessary;  they  are  thick  and 
fleshy  and  the  sharp  tips  of  their  spines 
offer  punishment  to  whosoever  touches 
them.  The  dorsal  fin  is  far  forward  and 
not  large;  it  is  usually  raised  at  a  threat- 
ening angle. 

Near  the  tail  there  is  a  little  fleshy  dor- 
sal fin  which  stands  in  line  with  the  body, 
and  one  wonders  what  is  its  special  use, 
The  ventral  fins  are  small.  The  anal  fin  is 
far  back  and  rather  strong,  and  this  with 


150 


ANIMALS 


the  long?  strong  tail  gives  the  fish  good 
motor  power;  it  can  swim  very  rapidly  if 
occasion  requires. 

The  bullhead  is  mud-colored  and  has 
no  scales.  The  skin  is  very  thick  and  leath- 
ery so  that  it  is  always  removed  before  the 
fish  is  cooked.  The  bullhead  burrows  deep 
into  the  mud  in  the  fall  and  remains  there 
all  winter;  when  the  spring  freshets  come, 
it  emerges  and  is  hungry  for  fresh  meat. 


Bullhead  guarding  his  nest 

The  family  life  of  the  bullheads  and 
other  catfishes  seems  to  be  quite  ideal. 
Dr.  Theodore  Gill  tells  us  that  bullheads 
make  their  nests  by  removing  stones  and 
gravel  from  a  more  or  less  irregularly  circu- 
lar area  in  shallow  water,  and  on  sandy  or 
gravelly  ground.  The  nest  is  somewhat 
excavated,  both  parents  removing  the  peb- 
bles by  sucking  them  into  the  mouth  and 
carrying  them  off  for  some  distance.  After 
the  eggs  are  laid,  the  male  watches  over 
and  guards  the  nest  and  seems  to  have 
great  family  responsibilities.  He  is  the 
more  active  of  the  two  in  stirring  and  mix- 
ing^ the  young  fry  after  they  are  hatched. 
Smith  and  Harron  describe  the  process 
thus:  "With  their  chins  on  the  bottom, 
the  old  fish  brush  the  corners  where  the 
fry  were  banked,  and  with  the  barbels  all 
directed  forward,  and  flexed  where  they 
touch  the  bottom,  thoroughly  agitate  the 
mass  of  fry,  bringing  the  deepest  individu- 
als to  the  surface.  This  act  is  usually  re- 
peated several  times  in  quick  succession. 


"  The  nests  are  usually  made  beneath 
logs  or  other  protecting  objects  and  in 
shallow  water.  The  paternal  care  is  con- 
tinued for  many  days  after  the  birth  of  the 
young.  At  first  these  may  be  crowded  to- 
gether in  a  dense  mass,  but  as  time  passes 
they  disperse  more  and  more  and  spread 
around  the  father.  Frequently,  especially 
when  the  old  one  is  feeding,  some  —  one 
or  more  —  of  the  young  are  taken  into  the 
mouth,  but  they  are  instinctively  sepa- 
rated from  the  food  and  spit  out.  At  last 
the  young  swarm  venture  farther  from 
their  birthplace,  or  perhaps  they  are  led 
away  by  their  parents/' 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Backyard  Explora- 
tion, by  Paul  G.  Howes;  The  Pet  Book, 
by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  The  Pond  Book, 
by  Walter  P.  Porter  and  Einar  A.  Hansen; 
also,  readings  on  page  144. 

LESSON  37 

THE  BULLHEAD,  OR  HORNED  POUT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  bullhead 
lives  in  mud  bottoms  of  streams  and 
ponds  and  is  particularly  adapted  for  life 
in  such  locations. 

METHOD  — A  small  bullhead  may  be 
placed  in  a  small  aquarium  jar.  At  first  let 
the  water  be  clear  and  add  a  little  pond 
weed  so  as  to  observe  the  natural  tendency 
of  the  fish  to  hide.  Later  add  mud  and 
gravel  to  the  aquarium  and  note  the  be- 
havior of  the  fish. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  What  at  the  first 
glance  distinguishes  the  bullhead  from 
other  fish?  Describe  these  strange  "  whis- 
kers" growing  about  the  mouth;  how 
many  are  there  and  where  are  they  situ- 
ated? Which  are  the  longest  pair?  Can 
the  fish  move  them  in  any  direction  at 
will? 

2.  Where  do  we  find  bullheads?  On 
what  do  they  feed?  Would  their  eyes  help 
them  to  find  their  food  in  the  mud?  How 
do  they  find  it? 

3.  Explain,  if  you  can,  why  the  bull- 
head has  barbels,  or  feelers,  while  the 
trout  and  bass  have  none. 

4.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  mouth? 


FISHES 


151 


5.  What  is  the  general  shape  of  the 
body?  What  is  its  color?  Has  it  any  scales? 

6.  Why  should  the  bullhead  be  so  flat 
horizontally  while  the  sunfish  is  so  flat 
in  the  opposite  direction? 

7.  Describe  the  bullhead's  eyes.  Are 
they  large?  What  is  their  color?  Where 
are  they  placed? 

8.  Describe  the  dorsal  fin?  giving  its 
comparative  size  and  position.  Do  you  see 
another  dorsal  fin?  Where  is  this  peculiar 
fin  and  how  does  it  differ  from  all  of  the 
others? 

9.  Describe  the  tail  fin.  Does  it  seem 
long  and  strong?  Is  the  bullhead  a  good 
swimmer? 

10.  Is  the  anal  fin  large  or  small  as  com- 
pared with  that  of  the  goldfish? 

11.  How  do  the  pectoral  fins  move  as 
compared  with  those  of  the  sunfish?  Why 
is  the  position  of  the  pectoral  and  dorsal 
fins  of  benefit  to  this  fish? 

12.  How    does    the    bullhead    inflict 
wounds  when  it  is  handled?  Tell  how 
these  spines  may  protect  it  from  its  natural 
enemies. 

13.  When  is  the  best  season  for  fishing 
for  bullheads?  Does  the  place  where  they 
are  found  affect  the  flavor  of  their  flesh? 
Why? 

14.  What  is  the  spawning  season?  Do 
you  know  about  the  nests  the  bullheads 
build  and  the  care  they  give  their  young? 

15.  Write  an  essay  on  the  nest-making 
habits  of  the  bullheads  and  the  care  given 
the  young  by  the  parents. 

And  what  fish  will  the  natural  boy  nat- 
urally talce?  In  America,  there  is  but  one 
fish  which  enters  fully  into  the  spirit  of 
the  occasion.  It  is  a  fish  of  many  species 
according  to  the  part  of  the  country,  and 
of  as  many  sizes  as  there  are  sizes  of  boys. 
This  fish  is  the  horned  pout,  and  all  the 
rest  of  the  species  of  Ameiums.  Horned 
pout  is  its  Boston  name.  Bullhead  is  good 
enough  for  New  York;  and  foi  the  rest  of 
the  country,  big  and  little,  all  the  fishes 


of  this  tribe  are  called  catfish.  A  catfish  is 
a  jolly  blundering  sort  of  a  fish,  a  regular 
Falstaff  of  the  ponds.  It  has  a  fat  /owl, 
and  a  fat  belly,  which  it  is  always  trying 
to  fill.  Smooth  and  sleek,  its  skin  is  almost 
human  in  its  delicacy.  It  wears  a  long 
mustache,  with  scattering  whiskers  of 
other  sort.  Meanwhile  it  always  goes 
armed  with  a  sword,  three  swords,  and 
these  it  has  always  on  hand,  always  ready 
for  a  struggle  on  land  as  well  as  in  the 
water.  The  small  boy  often  gets  badly 
stuck  on  these  poisoned  daggers,  but,  as 
the  fish  knows  how  to  set  them  by  a 
muscular  twist,  the  small  boy  learns  how, 
by  a  like  untwist,  he  may  unset  and  leave 
them  harmless. 

The  catfish  lives  in  sluggish  waters.  It 
loves  the  millpond  best  of  all,  and  it  has 
no  foolish  dread  of  hooks  when  it  goes 
forth  to  bite.  Its  mouth  is  wide.  It  swal- 
lows the  hook,  and  very  soon  it  is  in  the 
air,  its  white  throat  gasping  in  the  untried 
element.  Soon  it  joins  its  fellows  on  the 
forked  stick,  and  even  then,  uncomfort- 
able as  it  may  find  its  new  relations,  it 
never  loses  sight  of  the  humor  of  the  oc- 
casion. Its  large  head  and  expansive  fore- 
head betoken  a  large  mind.  It  is  the  only 
fish  whose  brain  contains  a  Sylvian  fissure, 
a  piling  up  of  /issue  consequent  on  the 
abundance  of  gray  matter.  So  it  under- 
stands and  makes  no  complaint.  After  it 
has  dried  in  the  sun  for  an  hour,  pour  a 
little  water  over  its  gills,  and  it  will  wag 
its  tail,  and  squeak  with  gratitude.  And 
the  best  of  all  is,  there  are  horned  pouts 
enough  to  go  around. 

The  female  horned  pout  lays  thousands 
of  eggs,  and  when  these  hatch,  she  goes 
about  near  the  shore  with  her  school  of 
little  fishes,  like  a  hen  with  myriad  chicks. 
She  should  be  respected  and  let  alone, 
for  on  her  success  in  rearing  this  breed  of 
"  bullying  little  rangers "  depends  the 
sport  of  the  small  boy  of  the  future. 

—  "  FISH  STORIES,"  CHARLES  FREDERICK 
HOLDER  AND  DAVID  STARR  JORDAN 


ANIMALS 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 

The  common  sucker 
Catostomus  commersonnii 


THE  COMMON  SUCKER 


He  who  loves  to  peer  down  into  the 
depths  of  still  waters,  often  sees  upon  the 
sandy,  muddy,  or  rocky  bottom  several 
long,  wedge-shaped  sticks  lying  at  various 
angles  one  to  another.  But  if  he  thrust 
down  a  real  stick,  behold,  these  inert, 
water-logged  sticks  move  off  deftly!  And 
then  he  knows  that  they  are  suckers.  He 
may  drop  a  hook  baited  with  a  worm  in 
front  of  the  nose  of  one,  and  if  he  waits 
long  enough  before  he  pulls  up  he  may 
catch  this  fish,  not  by  its  gills  but  by  the 
pit  of  its  stomach;  for  it  not  only  swallows 
the  hook  completely  but  tries  to  digest  it 
dong  with  the  worm.  Its  food  is  made  up 
of  soft-bodied  insects  and  other  small 
water  creatures;  it  is  also  a  mud  eater  and 
manages  to  make  a  digestive  selection 
from  the  organic  material  of  silt.  For  this 
latter  reason  it  is  not  a  desirable  food  fish, 
although  its  flesh  varies  in  flavor  with  the 
locality  where  it  is  found.  The  suckers 
taken  when  the  waters  are  cold,  are  tasty 
but  somewhat  more  bony  than  most  fishes, 
while  those  taken  from  warm  waters  are 
very  inferior  in  flavor  and  often  unpalat- 
able. 

Seen  from  above,  the  sucker  is  wedge- 
shaped,  being  widest  at  the  eyes;  seen  from 
the  side  it  has  a  flat  lower  surface  and 
an  ungracefully  rounded  contour  above, 
which  tapers  only  slightly  toward  the  tail. 


The  profile  of  the  face  gives  the  impres- 
sion of  a  Roman  nose.  The  young  speci- 
mens have  an  irregular  scale-mosaic  pat- 
tern of  olive-green  blotches  on  a  paler 
ground  color,  while  the  old  ones  are  quite 
brown  above  and  on  the  sides.  The  suck- 
ers differ  from  most  other  fishes  in  having 
the  markings  of  the  back  extend  down 
the  sides  almost  to  the  belly.  This  is  a 
help  in  concealing  the  fish,  since  its  sides 
show  from  above  quite  as  distinctly  as  its 
back  because  of  its  peculiar  form.  The 
scales  are  rather  large  and  are  noticeably 
larger  behind  than  in  the  region  of  the 
head.  Like  other  fish  it  is  white  below. 

The  dorsal  fin  is  placed  about  midway 
the  length  of  the  fish  as  measured  from 
nose  to  tail.  The  tail  is  long  and  strong 
and  deeply  notched;  the  anal  fin  extends 
back  to  where  the  tail  begins.  The  ventral 
fins  are  small  and  are  directly  opposite  the 
hind  half  of  the  dorsal  fin.  The  pectorals 
are  not  large  but  are  strong  and  are  placed 
low  down.  The  sucker  has  not  a  lavish 
equipment  of  fins,  but  its  tail  is  strong 
and  it  can  swim  swiftly;  it  is  also  very  ex- 
citable; in  its  efforts  to  escape,  it  will  jump 
from  the  aquarium  more  successfully  than 
any  other  fish.  When  resting  on  the  bot- 
tom, it  is  supported  by  its  extended  pec- 
toral and  ventral  fins,  which  are  strong  al- 
though not  large. 


FISHES 


L53 


The  eyes  are  fairly  large  but  the  iris  is 
not  shiny;  they  are  placed  so  that  the  fish 
can  easily  see  above  it  as  well  as  at  the 
sides;  the  eyes  move  so  as  to  look  up  or 
down  and  are  very  well  adapted  to  serve 
a  fish  that  lives  upon  the  bottom.  The 
nostrils  are  divided,  the  partition  project- 
ing until  it  seems  a  tubercle  on  the  face. 
The  mouth  opens  below  and  looks  like 
the  puckered  opening  of  a  bag.  The  lips 
are  thick  but  are  very  sensitive;  it  is  by 
projecting  these  lips,  in  a  way  that  re- 
minds one  of  a  very  short  elephant's 
trunk,  that  it  is  enabled  to  reach  and  find 
its  food  in  the  mud  or  gravel;  so  al- 
though the  sucker's  mouth  is  not  a  beauti- 
ful feature,  it  is  doubly  useful.  The  sucker 
has  the  habit  of  remaining  motionless  for 
long  periods  of  time.  It  breathes  very 
slowly  and  appears  sluggish;  it  never  seizes 
its  food  with  any  spirit  but  simply  slowly 
engulfs  it;  and  for  this  reason  it  is  consid- 
ered poor  game.  It  is  only  in  the  spring 
when  they  may  be  speared  through  the  ice 
that  there  is  any  fun  in  catching  suckers; 
it  is  at  this  season  of  the  year  that  they 
move  upstream  to  shallow  riffles  to 
spawn.  Even  so  lowly  a  creature  as  the 
sucker  seems  to  respond  to  influences  of 
the  springtime,  for  at  that  period  the 
male  has  a  faint  rosy  stripe  along  his  sides. 
In  the  winter  these  fish  retire  to  the 
depths  of  the  rivers  or  ponds. 

There  are  many  species  of  suckers  and 
they  vary  in  size  from  six  inches  to  three 
feet  in  length.  They  inhabit  all  sorts  of 
waters,  but  they  do  not  like  a  strong  cur- 
rent and  are,  therefore,  found  in  still 
pools.  The  common  sucker  (Catostomus 
commersonii),  which  is  the  subject  of  this 
lesson,  sometimes  attains  the  length  of 
twenty-two  inches  and  the  weight  of  five 
pounds.  The  ones  under  observation  were 
about  eight  inches  long,  and  proved  to  be 
the  acrobats  of  the  aquarium,  since  they 
were  likely  at  any  moment  to  jump  out; 
several  times  I  found  one  on  the  floor. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  the 
Brook,  by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Backyard 
Exploration,  by  Paul  G.  Howes;  also,  read- 
ings on  page  144. 


LESSON  38 
THE  COMMON  SUCKER 


LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  sucker  is  es- 
pecially adapted  by  shape  for  lying  on  the 
bottom  of  ponds  under  still  water  wheie 
its  food  is  abundant. 

METHOD  —  If  still-water  pools  along 
rivers  or  lakesides  are  accessible,  it  is  far 
more  interesting  to  study  a  sucker  in  its 
native  haunts,  as  an  introduction  to  the 
study  of  its  form  and  colors  when  it  is  in 
the  aquarium. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  do  you  find 
suckers?  How  do  you  catch  them?  Do 
they  take  the  hook' quickly?  What  is  the 
natural  food  of  the  sucker? 

2.  What  is  the  shape  of  this  fish's  body 
when  seen  from  above?  From  the  side? 
What  is  the  color  above?  On  the  sides? 
Below?  Does  the  sucker  differ  from  most 
other  fishes  in  the  coloring  along  its  sides? 
What  is  the  reason  for  this?  What  do 
suckers  look  like  on  the  bottom  of  the 
pond?  Are  they  easily  seen? 

3.  Describe  or  sketch  a  sucker,  showing 
the  position,  size,  and  shape  of  the  fins 
and  tail.  Are  its  scales  large  or  small?  How- 
does  it  use  its  fins  when  at  rest?  When 
moving?  Is  it  a  strong  swimmer?  Is  it  a 
high  jumper? 

4.  Describe  the  eyes;  how  are  they  espe- 
cially adapted  in  position  and  in  move- 
ment to  the  needs  of  a  fish  that  lives  on 
the  bottom  of  streams  and  ponds? 

5.  Note  the  nostrils.  Are  they  used  for 
breathing? 

6.  Where  is  the  mouth  of  the  sucker 
situated?  What  is  its  form?  How  is  it 
adapted  to  get  food  from  the  bottom  of 
the  stream  and  from  crevices  in  the  rocks? 

7.  Tell  all  you  know  about  the  habits  of 
the  suckers.  When  do  you  see  them  first 
in  the  spring?  Where  do  they  spend  the 
winter?  Where  do  they  go  to  spawn?  How 
large  is  the  largest  one  you  have  ever 
seen?  Why  is  their  flesh  sometimes  con- 
sidered poor  in  quality  as  food?  Is  there  a 
difference  in  the  flavor  of  their  flesh  de- 
pending upon  the  temperature  of  the 
water  in  which  they  live? 


ANIMALS 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 


Common  shiner  or  redfin 
Notropis  cornutus 


THE  SHINER 

This  is  a.  noteworthy  and  characteristic  lineament,  or  cipher?  or  hieroglyphic,  or 
type  of  spring.  You  look  into  some  clear,  sandy  bottomed  brook  where  it  spreads  into 
a  deeper  bay,  yet  flowing  cold  from  ice  and  snow  not  far  off,  and  see  indistinctly  poised 
over  the  sand  on  invisible  fins,  the  outlines  of  the  shiner,  scarcely  to  be  distinguished 
from  the  sands  behind  it  as  if  it  were  transparent.  —  THOREAXJ 


There  are  many  species  of  shiners  and 
it  is  by  no  means  easy  to  recognize  them 
or  to  distinguish  them  from  chub,  dace, 
and  other  minnows,  since  all  these  belong 
to  one  family;  they  all  have  the  same  ar- 
rangement of  fins  and  live  in  the  same 
water;  and  the  plan  of  this  lesson  can  with 
few  changes  be  applied  to  any  of  them. 

Never  were  seen  more  exquisite  colors 
than  shimmer  along  the  sides  of  the  com- 
mon shiner  (Notropis  cornutus) .  It  is 
pale  olive-green  above,  just  a  sunny  brook- 
color;  this  is  bordered  at  the  sides  by  a  line 
of  iridescent  blue-purple,  while  the  shin- 
ing silver  scales  on  the  sides  below  flash 
and  glimmer  with  the  changing  hues  of 
the  rainbow.  Most  of  the  other  minnows 
are  darker  than  the  shiners. 

The  body  of  the  shiner  is  ideal  for  slip- 
ping through  the  water.  Seen  from  above 
it  is  a  narrow  wedge,  rounded  in  front  and 
tapering  to  a  point  behind;  from  the  side, 
it  is  long,  oval,  lance-shaped.  The  scales 
are  large  and  beautiful,  and  the  lateral  line 
looks  like  a  series  of  dots  embroidered  at 
the  center  of  the  diamond-shaped  scales. 


The  dorsal  fin  is  placed  just  back  of  the 
center  of  the  body  and  is  not  very  large; 
it  is  composed  of  soft  rays,  the  first  two 
being  stiff  and  unbranched.  The  tail  is 
long,  large,  graceful  and  deeply  notched. 
The  anal  fin  is  almost  as  large  as  the  dor- 
sal. The  ventral  pair  is  placed  on  the  lower 
side,  opposite  the  dorsal  fin;  the  pectorals 
are  set  at  the  lower  margin  of  the  body, 
just  behind  the  gill  openings.  The  shiner 
and  its  relatives  use  the  pectoral  fins  to 
aid  in  swimming,  and  keep  them  con- 
stantly in  motion  when  moving  through 
the  water.  The  ventrals  are  moved  only 
now  and  then  and  evidently  help  in  keep- 
ing the  balance.  When  the  fish  moves 
rapidly  forward,  the  dorsal  fin  is  raised  so 
that  its  front  edge  stands  at  right  angles  to 
the  body  and  the  ventral  and  anal  fins  are 
expanded  to  their  fullest  extent.  But  when 
the  fish  is  lounging,  the  dorsal,  anal,  and 
ventral  fins  are  more  or  less  closed,  al- 
though the  tip  of  the  dorsal  fin  swings 
with  every  movement  of  the  fish. 

The  eyes  are  large,  the  pupils  being 
very  large  and  black;  the  iris  is  pale  yellow 


FISHES 


155 


and  shining;  the  whole  eye  is  capable  of          4.  Describe  or  sketch  the  fish,  showing 


much  movement  forward  and  back.  The 
nostril  is  divided  by  a  little  projecting  par- 
tition which  looks  like  a  tubercle.  The 
mouth  is  at  the  front  of  the  head;  to  see 
the  capabilities  of  this  mouth,  watch  the 
shiner  yawn,  if  the  water  of  the  aquarium 
becomes  stale.  Poor  fellow!  He  yawns  just 
as  we  do  in  the  effort  to  get  more  oxygen. 

The  shiners  are  essentially  brook  fish 
although  they  may  be  found  in  larger 
bodies  of  water.  They  lead  a  precarious 
existence,  for  the  larger  fish  eat  them  in  all 
their  stages.  They  hold  their  own  only  by 
laying  countless  numbers  of  eggs.  They 
feed  chiefly  on  water  insects,  algse,  and 
fish  eggs,  including  their  own.  They  are 
pretty  and  graceful  little  creatures  and 
may  be  seen  swimming  up  the  current  in 
the  middle  of  the  brook.  They  often  oc- 
cur in  schools  or  flocks,  especially  when 
young. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  BacJcyard  Ex- 
ploration, by  Paul  G.  Howes;  The  Pet 
Boole,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  read- 
ings on  page  144. 

LESSON  39 
THE  SHINER 

LEADING  THOUGHT —  The  shiners  are 
among  the  most  common  of  the  little  fish 
in  our  small  streams.  They  are  beautiful 
in  form  and  play  an  important  part  in  the 
life  of  our  streams. 

METHOD  —  Place  in  the  aquarium  shin- 
ers and  as  many  as  possible  of  the  other 
species  of  small  fish  found  in  our  creeks 
and  brooks.  The  aquarium  should  stand 
where  the  pupils  may  see  it  often.  The  fol- 
lowing questions  may  be  asked,  giving  the 
children  time  for  the  work  of  observation. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  What  is  the  shape 
of  the  shiner's  body  when  seen  from 
above?  When  seen  from  the  side?  Do  you 
think  that  its  shape  fits  it  for  moving  rap- 
idly through  the  water? 

2.  What  is  the  coloring  above?  On  the 
sides?  Below? 

3.  Are  the  scales  large  and  distinct,  or 
very  small?  Can  you  see  the  lateral  line? 
Where  are  the  tiny  holes  which  make  this 
line  placed  in  the  scales? 


position,  relative  size,  and  shape  of  all  the 
fins  and  the  tail. 

5.  Describe  the  use  and  movements  of 
each  of  the  fins  when  the  fish  is  swim- 
ming. 

6.  Describe  the  eyes.  Do  they  move? 

7.  Describe  the  nostrils.  Do  you  think 
each  one  is  double? 

8.  Does  the  mouth  open  upward,  down- 
ward, or  forward?  Have  you  ever  seen  the 
shiner  yawn?  Why  does  it  yawn?  Why  do 
you  yawn? 

9.  Where  do  you  find  the  shiners  liv- 
ing? Do  they  haunt  the  middle  of  the 
stream  or  the  edges?  Do  you  ever  see  them 
in  flocks  or  schools? 

MINNOWS 

How  silent  comes  the  water  round  that 

bend; 

Not  the  minutest  whisper  does  it  send 
To  the  o'er-hanging  sallows;  blades  of  grass 
Slowly  across  the  chequered  shadows  pass, 
Why,  you  might  read  two  sonnets,  ere 

they  reach 
To  where  the  hurrying  freshnesses  aye 

preach 

A  natural  sermon  o'er  their  pebbly  beds; 
Where  swarms  of  minnows  show  their  lit- 
tle heads, 
Staying   their   wavy    bodies   'gainst   the 

streams, 

To  taste  the  luxury  of  sunny  beams 
Tempered  with  coolness.  How  they  ever 

wrestle 
With  their  own  sweet  delight,  and  ever 

nestle 

Their  silver  bellies  on  the  pebbly  sand/ 
If  you  but  scantily  hold  out  the  hand, 
That  very  instant  not  one  will  remain; 
But  turn  your  eye,  and  there  they  are 

again. 
The  ripples  seem  right  glad  to  reach  those 

cresses, 
And  cool  themselves  among  the  em'rald 

tresses; 
The  while   they  cool   themselves,   they 

freshness  give, 
And  moisture,  that  the  bowery  green  may 

live. 

—  JOHN  KEATS 


i56 


ANIMALS 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 


The  brook  trout 
Salvelinus  f ontinalis 


THE  BROOK  TROUT 

Up  and  down  the  brook  I  ran,  where  beneath  the  banks  so  steep, 
Lie  the  spotted  trout  asleep.  —  WHITTIER 


But  they  were  probably  not  asleep,  as 
Mr.  Whittier  might  have  observed  if  he 
had  cast  a  fly  near  one  of  them.  There  is 
in  the  very  haunts  of  the  trout  a  sugges- 
tion of  where  it  gets  its  vigor  and  wariness : 
the  cold,  clear  streams  where  the  water 
is  pure;  brooks  that  wind  in  and  out  over 
rocky  and  pebbly  beds,  here  shaded  by 
trees  and  there  dashing  through  the  open 
—  it  makes  us  feel  vigorous  even  to  think 
of  such  streams.  Under  the  overhanging 
bank  or  in  the  shade  of  some  fallen  log 
or  shelving  rock,  the  brook  trout  hides 
where  he  may  see  all  that  goes  on  in  the 
world  above  and  around  him  without  be- 
ing himself  seen.  Woe  to  the  unfortu- 
nate insect  that  falls  upon  the  surface  of 
the  water  in  his  vicinity  or  even  flies  low 
over  it,  for  the  trout  will  easily  jump  far 
out  of  the  water  to  seize  its  prey  It  is 
this  habit  of  taking  the  insect  upon  and 
above  the  water's  surface  which  has  made 
trout  fly-fishing  the  sport  that  it  is.  Man's 
ingenuity  is  fairly  matched  against  the 
trout's  cunning  in  this  contest.  I  know  of 
one  old  trout  that  has  kept  fishermen  in 
the  region  around  on  the  qui  vive  for 
years;  and  up  to  date  he  is  still  alive,  mak- 
ing a  dash  now  and  then  at  a  tempting 


bait,  showing  himself  enough  to  tantalize 
his  would-be  captors  with  his  splendid 
size,  but  always  retiring  at  the  sight  of  the 
line. 

The  brook  trout  varies  much  in  color, 
depending  upon  the  soil  and  the  rocks  of 
the  streams  in  which  it  lives.  Its  back  is 
marbled  with  dark  olive  or  black,  mak- 
ing it  just  the  color  of  shaded  water.  This 
marbled  coloration  also  marks  the  dorsal 
and  the  tail  fins.  The  sides,  which  vary 
much  in  color,  are  marked  with  beautiful 
vermilion  spots,  each  placed  in  the  center 
of  a  larger,  bluish  spot.  In  some  instances 
the  lower  surface  is  reddish,  in  others 
whitish.  All  the  fins  on  the  lower  side 
of  the  body  have  the  front  edges  creamy 
or  yellowish  white,  with  a  darker  streak 
behind. 

The  trout's  head  is  quite  large  and 
somewhat  blunt.  The  large  eye  is  a  little 
in  front  of  the  middle  of  the  head.  The 
dorsal  fin  is  at  about  the  middle  of  the 
body,  and  when  raised  is  squarish  in  out- 
line. Behind  the  dorsal  fin  and  near  the 
tail  is  the  little,  fleshy  adipose  fin,  so  called 
because  its  tissue  is  more  or  less  adipose 
in  nature.  The  tail  is  fan-shaped,  slightly 
notched  at  the  end  and  is  large  and  strong. 


FISHES 


The  anal  fin  is  rather  Iarge?  being  shaped 
much  like  the  dorsal  fin,  only  slightly 
smaller.  The  ventral  fins  are  directly  be- 
low the  dorsal  fin  and  a  little  behind  its 
middle.  The  pectorals  are  low  down,  being 
below  and  just  behind  the  gill  arches. 

In  size  the  brook  trout  may  reach  four- 
teen inches,  but  the  majority  of  those 
caught  are  seldom  longer  than  seven  or 
eight  inches.  It  does  not  flourish  in  water 
which  is  warmer  than  70°  Fahrenheit, 
and  prefers  a  temperature  of  about  50° 
Fahrenheit.  It  must  have  the  pure  water 
of  mountain  streams  and  cannot  endure 
the  water  of  rivers  which  is  polluted  by 
mills  or  the  refuse  of  cities.  Where  it  has 
access  to  streams  that  flow  into  the  ocean, 
it  forms  the  salt-water  habit,  going  out 
to  sea  and  remaining  there  during  the 
winter.  Such  specimens  become  very 
large. 

The  trout  can  lay  eggs  when  about  six 
inches  in  length.  The  eggs  are  laid  from 
September  until  late  November  in  most 
parts  of  the  United  States.  One  small 
mother  trout  lays  from  400  to  600  eggs, 
but  the  large-sized  ones  lay  more.  The  pe- 
riod of  hatching  depends  upon  the  tem- 
perature of  the  water.  In  depositing  their 
eggs  the  trout  seek  water  with  a  gravelly 
bottom,  often  where  some  spring  enters 
into  a  stream.  The  nest  is  shaped  by  the 
tail  of  the  fish,  the  larger  stones  being  car- 
ried away  in  the  mouth.  To  make  the  pre- 


Verne  Morton 

When  resting  on  a  stream  bed  trout  face  into 
the  current 


Where  the  trout  live 

cious  eggs  secure  they  are  covered  with 
gravel. 

Strict  laws  have  been  enacted  by  almost 
all  of  our  states  to  protect  the  brook  trout 
and  preserve  it  in  our  streams.  While  it  is 
true  that  brook  trout  spawn  when  five  to 
six  inches  in  length,  the  legal  size  in  most 
states  is  six  to  seven  inches;  this  gives 
them  a  chance  to  spawn  at  least  about 
once  before  being  caught.  It  is  the  duty  of 
every  decent  citizen  to  abide  by  these  laws 
and  to  see  to  it  that  his  neighbors  observe 
them.  The  teacher  cannot  emphasize 
enough  to  the  child  the  moral  value 
of  being  law-abiding.  There  should  be  in 
every  school  in  the  Union  children's 
clubs  which  should  have  for  their  pur- 
pose civic  honesty  and  the  enforcement 
of  laws  which  affect  the  city,  village,  or 
township. 

Almost  any  stream  with  suitable  water 
may  be  stocked  with  trout  from  the  na- 
tional or  the  state  hatcheries,  but  what 
is  the  use  of  this  expense  if  the  game 
laws  are  not  observed  and  these  fish  are 
caught  before  they  reach  maturity,  as  is 
so  often  the  case? 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Backyard  Explora- 


i58 


ANIMALS 


tion,  by  Paul  G.  Howes;  Mountain  Neigh- 
bors, by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Carroll  L. 
Fenton  (Rainbow  Trout) ;  The  Watchers 
of  the  Trails,  by  Charles  G.  D.  Roberts; 
also,  readings  on  page  144. 

LESSON  40 
THE  BROOK  TROUT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  brook  trout 
have  been  exterminated  in  many  streams 
in  our  country  largely  because  the  game 
laws  were  passed  too  late  to  save  them; 
and  because  of  misuse  of  our  waters.  The 
trout  is  one  of  the  most  cunning  and  beau- 
tiful of  our  common  fishes  and  the  most 
delicious  for  food.  Many  mountain 
streams  in  our  country  could  be  well 
stocked  with  brook  trout. 

METHOD  — For  this  lesson  secure  a 
trout  from  a  fisherman  at  the  opening  of 
trout  season.  In  some  states,  a  permit  is 
required  before  a  trout  may  be  legally  kept 
in  captivity,  unless  it  is  a  legally  captured 
specimen  and  is  kept  only  during  fishing 
season. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  In  what  streams  are 
the  brook  trout  found?  Must  the  water  be 
warm  or  cold?  Can  the  trout  live  in  im- 
pure water?  Can  it  live  in  salt  water? 

2.  Do  the  trout  swim  about  in  schools 
or  do  they  live  solitary?  Where  do  they 
like  to  hide? 

3.  With  what  kind  of  bait  are  trout 
caught?  Why  do  they  afford  such  excel- 
lent sport  for  fly-fishing?  Can  you  tell  what 
the  food  of  the  trout  is? 

4.  What  is  the  color  of  the  trout  above? 
What  colors  along  its  sides?  What  mark- 
ings make  the  fish  so  beautiful?  What  is 
its  color  below?  Has  the  trout  scales?  Do 
you  see  the  lateral  line? 

5.  What  is  the  general  shape  of  the 
brook  trout?  Describe  the  shape,  position, 
and  color  of  the  dorsal  fin.  Describe  the 
little  fin  behind  the  dorsal.  Why  is  it  un- 
like the  other  fins?  What  is  the  shape  of 
the  tail  fin?  Is  it  rounded,  square,  or  cres- 
cent-shaped across  the  end?  What  is  the 
position  and  size  of  the  anal  fin  compared 
with  the  dorsal?  What  are  the  colors  on 
the  ventral  fins  and  where  are  these  fins 


placed  in  relation  to  the  dorsal  fin?  What 
color  are  the  pectoral  fins  and  how  are 
they  placed  in  relation  to  the  gill  arches? 

6.  Describe  the  trout's  eyes.  Do  you 
think  the  trout  is  keen-sighted? 

7.  When  and  where  are  the  eggs  laid? 
Describe  how  the  nest  is  made.  How  are 
the  eggs  covered  and  protected? 

8.  Could  a  trout  live  in  the  streams  of 
your  neighborhood?  Can  you  get  state  aid 
in  stocking  the  streams? 

9.  What  are  the  game  laws  concerning 
trout  fishing?  When  is  the  open  season? 
How  long  must  the  trout  be  to  be  taken 
legally?  If  you  are  a  good  citizen  what  do 
you  do  about  the  game  laws? 

10.  Write  a  story  telling  all  you  know 
about  the  wariness,  cunning,  and  strength 
of  the  brook  trout. 

TROUT 

It  is  well  for  anglers  not  to  make  trout, 
of  all  fishes,  the  prime  objective  of  a  day's 
sport,  as  no  more  uncertain  game  loves  the 
sunlight.  Today  he  is  yours  for  the  very 
asking;  tomorrow,  the  most  luscious  lure 
will  not  tempt  him.  One  hour  he  defies 
you,  the  next,  gazes  at  you  from  some  en- 
sconcement  of  the  fishes,  and  knows  you 
not,  as  you  pass  him,  casting,  by. 

I  believe  I  accumulated  some  of  this 
angling  wisdom  years  ago,  in  a  certain 
trout  domain  in  New  England,  where 
there  were  streams  and  pools,  ripples,  cas- 
cades and  drooping  trees;  where  every- 
thing was  fair  and  promising  to  the  eyes 
for  trout;  but  it  required  superhuman  pa- 
tience to  lure  them,  and  many  a  day  I 
scoreda  blank.  Yet  on  these  very  days  when 
lures  were  unavailing,  the  creel  empty 
save  for  fern  leaves,  I  found  they  were 
not  for  naught;  that  the  real  fishing  day 
was  a  composite  of  the  weather,  the  wind, 
even  if  it  was  from  the  east,  the  splendid 
colors  of  forest  trees,  the  blue  tourmaline 
of  the  sky  that  topped  the  stream  amid  the 
trees,  the  flecks  of  cloud  mirrored  on 
the  surface.  The  delight  of  anticipation, 
the  casting,  the  play  of  the  rod,  the  exer- 
cise of  skill,  the  quick  turns  in  the  stream 
opening  up  new  vistas,  the  little  openings 
in  the  forest,  through  which  were  seen  dis- 


FISHES 


tant  meadows  and  nodding  flowers  —  all 
these  went  to  make  up  the  real  trout  fish- 
ing, the  actual  catch  being  but  an  incident 
among  many  delights. 

Just  how  long  one  could  be  content 
with  mere  scenery  in  lieu  of  trout,  I  am 
not  prepared  to  say;  if  pushed  to  the  wall, 
I  confess  that  when  fishing  I  prefer  trout 
to  scenic  effects.  Still,  it  is  a  very  imprac- 
ticable and  delightful  sentiment  with 
some  truth  to  it,  the  moral  being  that  the 
angler  should  be  resourceful,  and  not  be 
entirely  cast  down  on  the  days  when  the 
wind  is  in  the  east. 

I  am  aware  that  this  method  of  angling 


is  not  in  vogue  with  some,  and  would  be 
deemed  fanciful,  indeed  inane,  by  many 
more;  yet  it  is  based  upon  a  true  and 
homely  philosophy,  not  of  today,  the  phi- 
losophy of  patience  and  contentment. 
"  How  poor  are  they  that  have  not  pa- 
tience/7 said  Othello.  It  is  well  to  be  con- 
tent with  things  as  we  find  them,  and  it  is 
well  to  go  a-fishing,  and  not  to  catch  fish 
alone,  but  every  offering  the  day  has  to 
give.  This  should  be  an  easy  matter  for  the 
angler,  as  Walton  tells  us  that  Angling 
is  somewhat  like  poetry;  men  are  to  be 
born  so. 
—  "  FISH  STORIES/'  HOLDER  AND  JORDAN 


j 

State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 

Brook  stickleback  and  nest 
Eucalia  inconstans 


THE  STICKLEBACK 


This  is  certainly  the  most  sagacious  of 
the  Lilliputian  vertebrates;  scarcely  more 
than  an  inch  in  length  when  full-grown, 
it  gazes  at  you  with  large,  keen,  shining- 
rimmed  eyes,  takes  your  measure  and  darts 
off  with  a  flirt  of  the  tail  that  says  plainly, 
"  Catch  me  if  you  can/'  The  sticklebacks 


are  delightful  aquarium  pets  because  their 
natural  home  is  in  still  water  sufficiently 
stagnant  for  algae  to  grow  luxuriously;  thus 
we  but  seldom  need  to  change  the  water 
in  the  aquarium,  which,  however,  should 
be  well  stocked  with  water  plants  and  have 
gravel  at  the  bottom. 


i6o 


ANIMALS 


When  the  stickleback  is  not  resting,  he 
is  always  going  somewhere  and  he  knows 
just  where  he  is  going  and  what  he  is  going 
to  do,  and  earthquakes  shall  not  deter 
him.  He  is  the  most  dynamic  creature  in 
all  creation,  I  think,  except  perhaps  the 
dragon  fly,  and  he  is  so  ferocious  that  if 
he  were  as  large  as  a  shark  he  would  de- 
stroy all  other  fishes.  His  ferocity  is  fright- 
ful to  behold  as  he  seizes  his  prey  and 
shakes  it  as  a  terrier  does  a  rat. 

Well  is  this  fish  named  stickleback,  for 
along  the  ridge  of  its  back  are  sharp,  strong 
spines  —  five  of  them  in  our  tiny  brook 
species.  These  spines  may  be  laid  back  flat 
or  they  may  be  erected  stiffly,  making  an 
efficient  saw  which  does  great  damage  to 
fish  many  times  larger  than  the  stickle- 
back. When  we  find  the  minnows  in  the 
aquarium  losing  their  scales,  we  may  be 
sure  they  are  being  raked  off  by  this  saw- 
back;  and  if  the  shiner  or  sunfish  under- 
takes to  make  a  stickleback  meal,  there  is 
only  one  way  to  do  it,  and  that  is  to  catch 
the  quarry  by  the  tail,  since  he  is  too  alert 
to  be  caught  in  any  other  way.  But  swal- 
lowing a  stickleback  tail  first  is  a  danger- 
ous performance,  for  the  sharp  spines  rip 
open  the  throat  or  stomach  of  the  captor. 
Dr.  Jordan  says  that  the  sticklebacks  of 
the  Puget  Sound  region  are  called  "  sal- 
mon killers  "  and  that  they  well  earn  the 
name;  these  fierce  midgets  unhesitatingly 
attack  the  salmon,  biting  off  pieces  of 
their  fins  and  also  destroying  their  spawn. 

As  seen  from  the  side,  the  stickleback 
is  slender  and  graceful,  pointed  like  an 
arrow  at  the  front  end,  and  with  the  body 
behind  the  dorsal  fin  forming  a  long  and 
slender  pedicel  to  support  the  beautifully 
rounded  tail  fin.  The  dorsal  fin  is  placed 
well  back  and  is  triangular  in  shape;  the 
anal  fin  makes  a  similar  triangle  opposite 
it  below  and  has  a  sharp  spine  at  its  front 
edge.  The  color  of  the  body  varies  with 
the  light;  when  the  stickleback  is  floating 
among  the  water  weeds,  the  back  is  green- 
ish mottled  with  paler  green,  but  when 
the  fish  is  down  on  the  gravel,  it  is  much 
darker.  The  lateral  line  is  marked  by  a 
silver  stripe. 

If  large  eyes  count  for  beauty,  then  the 


stickleback  deserves  "  the  apple,"  for  its 
eyes  are  not  only  large  but  gemlike,  with  a 
broad  iris  of  golden  brown  around  the 
black  pupil.  I  am  convinced  that  the 
stickleback  has  a  keener  vision  than  most 
fish;  it  can  move  its  eyes  backward  and 
forward  rapidly  and  alertly.  The  mouth 
opens  almost  upward  and  is  a  wicked 
little  mouth,  in  both  appearance  and 
action. 

When  swimming,  the  stickleback  darts 
about  rapidly,  its  dorsal  and  anal  fins  ex- 
tended, its  spines  all  abristle,  and  its  tail 
lashing  the  water  with  strong  strokes. 
When  the  fish  wishes  to  lift  itself  through 
the  water,  it  seems  to  depend  entirely 
upon  its  pectoral  fins  and  these  are  also 
used  for  balancing.  Its  favorite  position 
is  hanging  motionless  among  the  pond 
weeds,  with  the  tail  and  the  dorsal  and 
ventral  fins  partially  closed;  it  usually  rests 
upon  the  pectoral  fins  which  are  braced 
against  some  stem;  in  one  case  I  saw  the 
ventrals  and  pectorals  used  together  to 
clasp  a  stem  and  hold  the  fish  in  place.  In 
moving  backward  the  pectorals  do  the 
work,  with  a  little  beckoning  motion  of 
the  tail  occasionally.  When  resting  upon 
the  bottom  of  the  aquarium,  it  closes  its 
fins  and  makes  itself  quite  inconspicuous. 
It  can  dig  with  much  power,  accomplish- 
ing this  by  a  comical  auger-like  motion;  it 
plunges  head  first  into  the  gravel  and  then, 
by  twisting  the  body  and  tail  around  and 
around,  it  soon  forms  a  hiding  place. 

But  it  is  as  house  builder  and  father 
and  home  protector  that  the  stickleback 
shines.  In  the  early  spring  he  builds  him  a 
nest  made  from  the  fine  green  algas  called 
frog-spittle.  This  would  seem  too  delicate 
a  material  for  the  house  construction,  but 
he  is  a  clever  builder.  He  fastens  his  filmy 
walls  to  some  sterns  of  reed  or  grass,  using 
as  a  platform  a  supporting  stem;  the  ones 
which  I  have  especially  studied  were  fas- 
tened to  grass  stems.  The  stickleback  has 
a  little  cement  plant  of  his  own,  supposed 
to  be  situated  in  the  kidneys,  which  at  this 
time  of  year  secretes  the  glue  for  building 
purposes.  The  glue  is  waterproof.  It  is 
spun  out  in  fine  threads  or  in  filmy  masses 
through  an  opening  near  the  anal  fin.  One 


FISHES 


161 


species  weights  his  platform  with  sand 
which  he  scoops  up  from  the  bottom,  but 
I  cannot  detect  that  our  brook  stickleback 
does  this.  In  his  case,  home  is  his  sphere 
literally,  for  he  builds  a  spherical  house 
about  the  size  of  a  glass  marble,  three- 
quarters  of  an  inch  in  diameter.  It  is  a 
hollow  sphere;  he  cements  the  inside 
walls  so  as  to  hold  them  back  and  give 
room,  and  he  finishes  his  pretty  structure 
with  a  circular  door  at  the  side.  When  fin- 
ished, the  nest  is  like  a  bubble  made  of 
threads  of  down,  and  yet  it  holds  to- 
gether strongly. 

In  the  case  of  the  best-known  species, 
the  male,  as  soon  as  he  has  finished  his 
bower  to  his  satisfaction,  goes  a-wooing; 
he  selects  some  lady  stickleback,  and  in  his 
own  way  tells  her  of  the  beautiful  nest  he 
has  made  and  convinces  her  of  his  ability 
to  take  care  of  a  family.  He  certainly  has 
fetching  ways,  for  he  soon  conducts  her  to 
his  home.  She  enters  the  nest  through  the 
little  circular  door,  lays  her  eggs  within  it, 
and  then,  being  a  flighty  creature,  she 
sheds  responsibilities  and  flits  off  carefree. 
He  follows  her  into  the  nest,  scatters  the 
fertilizing  milt  over  the  eggs,  and  then 
starts  off  again  and  rolls  his  golden  eyes  on 
some  other  lady  stickleback  and  invites 
her  also  to  his  home.  She  comes  without 
any  jealousy  because  she  was  not  first 
choice;  she  also  enters  the  nest  and 
lays  her  eggs  and  then  swims  off  uncon- 
cernedly. Again  he  enters  the  nest  and 
drops  more  milt  upon  the  eggs  and  then 
fares  forth  again,  a  still  energetic  wooer. 
If  there  was  ever  a  justified  polygamist,  he 
is  one,  since  it  is  only  the  cares  and  respon- 
sibilities of  the  home  that  he  desires.  He 
only  stops  wooing  when  his  nest  holds  as 
many  eggs  as  he  feels  equal  to  caring  for. 
He  now  stands  on  guard  by  the  door,  and 
with  his  winnowing  pectoral  fins  sets  up  a 
current  of  water  over  the  eggs;  he  drives  off 
all  intruders  with  the  most  vicious  attacks, 
and  keeps  off  many  an  enemy  simply  by  a 
display  of  reckless  fury;  thus  he  stands 
guard  until  the  eggs  hatch  and  the  tiny 
little  sticklebacks  come  out  of  the  nest 
and  float  off,  attaching  themselves  by 
their  mouths  to  the  pond  weeds  until  they 


become  strong  enough  to  scurry  around  in 
the  water. 

Some  species  arrange  two  cloors  in  this 
spherical  nest  so  that  a  current  of  water 
can  flow  through  and  over  the  eggs.  Mr. 
Eugene  Barker,  who  has  made  a  special 
study  of  the  little  brook  sticklebacks  of  the 
Cayuga  Basin,  has  failed  to  find  more  than 
one  door  to  their  nests.  Mr.  Barker  made  a 
most  interesting  observation  on  this  stick- 
leback's obsession  for  fatherhood.  He 
placed  in  the  aquarium  two  nests,  one  of 
which  was  still  guarded  by  its  loyal 
builder,  who  allowed  himself  to  be  caught 


N.  Y.  State  Conservation  Dept. 

Horned  dace 
Semotilus  atromaculatus 

rather  than  desert  his  post;  the  little 
guardian  soon  discovered  the  unprotected 
nest  and  began  to  move  the  eggs  from  it  to 
his  own,  carrying  them  carefully  in  his 
mouth.  This  addition  made  his  own  nest 
so  full  that  the  eggs  persistently  crowded 
out  of  the  door,  and  he  spent  much  of  his 
time  nudging  them  back  with  his  snout. 
We  saw  this  stickleback  fill  his  mouth 
with  algae  from  the  bottom  of  the  aquar- 
ium and  holding  himself  steady  a  short 
distance  away,  apparently  blow  the  algae 
at  the  nest  from  a  distance  of  half  an 
inch;  we  wondered  if  this  was  his  method 
of  laying  on  his  building  materials  before 
he  cemented  them. 

The  eggs  of  this  species  are  white  and 
shining  like  minute  pearls,  and  seem  to  be 
fastened  together  in  small  packages  with 
gelatinous  matter.  The  mating  habits  of 
this  species  have  not  been  thoroughly 
studied;  therefore,  here  is  an  opportunity 
for  investigation  on  the  part  of  the  boys 
and  girls.  The  habits  of  other  species  of 
sticklebacks  have  been  studied  more  than 
have  those  of  the  brook  stickleback. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Pathways  in  Sci- 
ence, by  G.  S.  Craig  and  Co-authors, 


162 


ANIMALS 


Book  3,  Our  Wide,  Wide  World;  The 
Pet  Book,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  The 
Pond  Book,  by  Walter  P.  Porter  and  Ei- 
nar  A.  Hansen;  also,  readings  on  page  144. 


N.  Y.  State  Conservation  Dept. 


A  sculpin 
Cottus  cognatus 

LESSON  41 
THE  STICKLEBACK 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  stickleback 
is  the  smallest  of  our  common  fish.  It  lives 
in  stagnant  water.  The  father  stickleback 
builds  his  pretty  nest  of  algas  and  watches 
it  very  carefully. 

METHOD  —  To  find  sticklebacks  go  to  a 
pond  of  stagnant  water  which  does  not 
dry  up  during  the  year.  If  it  is  partly 
shaded  by  bushes,  so  much  the  better. 
Take  a  dip  net  and  dip  deeply;  carefully 
examine  all  the  little  fish  in  the  net  by 
putting  them  in  a  Mason  jar  of  water  so 
that  you  can  see  what  they  are  like.  The 
stickleback  is  easily  distinguished  by  the 
five  spines  along  its  back.  If  you  collect 
these  fish  as  early  as  the  first  of  May  and 
place  several  of  them  in  the  aquarium 
with  plenty  of  the  algas  known  as  frog- 
spittle  and  other  water  plants  they  may 
perhaps  build  a  nest  for  you.  They  may  be 
fed  upon  bits  of  meat  or  liver  chopped 
very  fine  or  upon  earthworms  cut  into 
small  sections. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  How  did  the  stick- 
leback gets  its  name?  How  many  spines 
has  it?  Where  are  they  situated?  Are  they 


always  carried  erect?  How  are  these  spines 
used  as  weapons?  How  do  they  act  as  a 
means  of  protection  to  the  stickleback? 

2.  Describe  or  make  a  sketch  showing 
the  shape  and  position  of  the  dorsal,  the 
anal,  the  ventral,  and  the  pectoral  fins. 
What  is  the  shape  of  the  tail?  What  is  the 
general  shape  of  the  fish? 

3.  What  is  the  color  of  the  stickle- 
backs? Is  the  color  always  the  same?  What 
is  the  color  and  position  of  the  lateral  line? 

4.  Describe  the  eyes.  Are  they  large  or 
small?  Can  they  be  moved?  Do  you  think 
they  can  see  far? 

5.  Describe  the  mouth.  Does  it  open 
upward,  straight  ahead,  or  downward? 

6.  When  the  stickleback  is  swimming, 
what  are  the  positions  and  motions  of  the 
dorsal,  anal,  tail,  and  pectoral  fins?  Can 
you  see  the  ventral  pair?  Are  they  ex- 
tended when  the  fish  is  swimming? 

7.  When  resting  among  the  pond  weed 
of  the  aquarium  what  fins  does  the  stick- 
leback use  for  keeping  afloat?  How  are  the 
other  fins  held?  What  fins  does  it  use  to 
move  backward?  Which  ones  are  used 
when  it  lifts  itself  from  the  bottom  to  the 
top  of  the  aquarium?  How  are  its  fins 
placed  when  it  is  at  rest  on  the  bottom? 

8.  Drop  a  piece  of  earthworm  or  some 
liver  or  fresh  meat  cut  finely  into  the 
aquarium  and  describe  the  action  of  the 
sticklebacks  as  they  eat  it.  How  large  is  a 
full-grown  stickleback? 

9.  In  what  kind  of  ponds  do  we  find 
sticklebacks?  Do  you  know  how  the  stick- 
leback nest  looks?  Of  what  is  it  built? 
How  is  it  supported?  Is  there  one  door  or 
two?  Does  the  father  or  mother  stickle- 
back build  the  nest?  Are  the  young  in  the 
nest  cared  for?  At  what  time  is  the  nest 
built? 


THE  SUNFISH 


This  little  disc  of  gay  color  has  won 
many  popular  names.  It  is  called  pump- 
kinseed,  tobacco  box,  and  sunfish  because 
of  its  shape,  and  it  is  also  called  bream  and 
pondfish.  I  have  always  wondered  that  it 
was  not  called  chieftain  also,  for  when  it 


raises  its  dorsal  fin  with  its  saw  crest  of 
spines,  it  looks  like  the  headdress  of  an 
Indian  chief;  and  surely  no  warrior  ever 
had  a  greater  enjoyment  in  a  battle  than 
does  this  indomitable  little  fish. 
The  sunfish  lives  in  the  eddies  of  our 


FISHES 


163 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 


Sunfish  or  pumpkinseed 
Eupomotis  gibbosus 


clear  brooks  and  ponds.  It  is  a  near  rela- 
tive of  the  rock  bass  and  also  of  the  black 
bass  and  it  has,  according  to  its  size,  just 
as  gamy  qualities  as  the  latter.  I  once  had 
a  sunfish  on  my  line  which  made  rne  think 
I  had  caught  a  bass  and  I  do  not  know 
whether  I  or  the  mad  little  pumpkinseed 
was  the  more  disgusted  when  I  discovered 
the  truth.  I  threw  him  back  in  the  water, 
but  his  fighting  spirit  was  up  and  he 
grabbed  my  hook  again  within  five  min- 
utes, which  showed  that  he  had  more 
courage  than  wisdom;  it  would  have 
served  him  right  if  I  had  fried  him  in  a 
pan,  but  I  never  could  make  up  my  mind 
to  kill  a  fish  for  the  sake  of  one  mouthful 
of  food. 

Perhaps  of  all  its  names,  ''pumpkin- 
seed  "  is  the  most  graphic,  for  it  resembles 
this  seed  in  the  outlines  of  its  body  when 
seen  from  the  side.  Looked  at  from  above, 
it  has  the  shape  of  a  powerful  craft  with 
smooth,  rounded  nose  and  gently  swelling 
and  tapering  sides;  it  is  widest  at  the  eyes 
and  this  is  a  canny  arrangement,  for  these 
great  eyes  turn  alertly  in  every  direction; 


and  thus  placed  they  are  able  to  discern 
the  enemy  or  the  dinner  coming  from  any 
quarter. 

The  dorsal  fin  is  a  most  militant  looking 
organ.  It  consists  of  ten  spines,  the  hind 
one  closely  joined  to  the  hind  dorsal  fin, 
which  is  supported  by  the  soft  rays.  The 
three  front  spines  rise  successively,  one 
above  another,  and  all  are  united  by  the 
membrane,  the  upper  edge  of  which  is 
deeply  toothed.  The  hind  dorsal  fin  is 
gracefully  rounded  and  the  front  and  hind 
fin  work  independently  of  each  other,  the 
latter  often  winnowing  the  water  when 
the  former  is  laid  flat.  The  tail  is  strong 
and  has  a  notch  in  the  end;  the  anal  fin 
has  three  spines  on  its  front  edge  and  ten 
soft  rays.  Each  ventral  fin  also  has  a  spine 
at  the  front  edge  and  is  placed  below  and 
slightly  behind  the  pectorals.  The  pecto- 
ral fins,  I  have  often  thought,  are  the  most 
exquisite  and  gauzelike  in  texture  of  all 
the  fins  I  have  ever  seen;  they  are  kept  al- 
most constantly  in  motion  and  move  in 
such  graceful  flowing  undulations  that  it 
is  a  joy  to  look  at  them. 


164 


ANIMALS 


The  eye  of  the  sunfish  is  very  large 
and  quite  prominent;  the  large  black  pupil 
is  surrounded  by  an  iris  that  has  shining 
lavender  and  bronze  in  it,  but  is  more  or 
less  clouded  above;  the  young  ones  have 
a  pale  silver  iris.  The  eyes  move  in  every 
direction  and  are  eager  and  alert  in  their 
expression.  The  mouth  is  at  the  front  of 
the  body  but  it  opens  upward.  The  gill 
opening  is  prolonged  backward  at  the  up- 
per corner,  making  an  earlike  flap;  this,  of 
course,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  fish's 
ears,  but  it  is  highly  ornamental,  as  it  is 


Male  sunfish  guarding  his  nest 

greenish-black  in  color,  bordered  by  irides- 
cent, pale  green,  with  a  brilliant  orange 
spot  on  its  hind  edge.  The  colors  of  the 
sunfish  are  too  varied  for  description  and 
too  beautiful  to  reduce  to  mere  words. 
There  are  dark,  dull,  greenish  or  purplish 
cross-bands  worked  out  in  patterns  of 
scale-mosaic,  and  between  them  are  bands 
of  pale,  iridescent  green,  set  with  black- 
edged  orange  spots.  But  just  as  we  have 
described  his  colors  our  sunfish  darts  off 
and  all  sorts  of  shimmering,  shining  blue, 
green  and  purple  tints  play  over  his  body; 
and  as  he  settles  down  into  another  corner 
of  the  aquarium,  his  colors  seem  much 
paler  and  we  have  to  describe  him  over 
again.  The  body  below  is  brassy  yellow. 

The  beautiful  colors  which  the  male 
sunfish  dons  in  spring,  he  puts  at  once  to 
practical  use.  Professor  Reighard  says  that 
when  courting  and  trying  to  persuade  his 
chosen  one  to  come  to  his  nest  and  there 


deposit  her  eggs,  he  faces  her,  with  his 
gill  covers  puffed  out,  the  scarlet  or  orange 
spot  on  the  ear-flap  standing  out  bravely, 
and  his  black  ventral  fins  spread  wide  to 
show  off  their  patent-leather  finish.  Thus 
does  he  display  himself  before  her  and  in- 
timidate her;  but  he  is  rarely  allowed  to 
do  this  in  peace.  Other  males  as  brilliant 
as  he  arrive  on  the  scene  and  he  must 
forsooth  stop  parading  before  his  lady  love 
in  order  to  fight  his  rival,  and  he  fights 
with  as  much  display  of  color  as  he  courts. 
In  the  sunfish  duel,  however,  the  partici- 
pants do  not  seek  to  destroy  each  other  but 
to  intimidate  each  other.  The  vanquished 
one  retires.  Professor  Gill  says:  "Mean- 
while the  male  has  selected  a  spot  in  very 
shallow  water  near  the  shore,  and  gener- 
ally in  a  mass  of  aquatic  vegetation,  not 
too  large  or  close  together  to  entirely  ex- 
clude the  light  and  heat  of  the  sun,  and 
mostly  under  an  overhanging  plant.  The 
choice  is  apt  to  be  in  some  general  strip 
of  shallow  water  close  by  the  shore  which 
is  favored  by  many  others  so  that  a  num- 
ber of  similar  nests  may  be  found  close  to- 
gether, although  never  encroaching  on 
each  other.  Each  fish  slightly  excavates 
and  makes  a  saucer-like  basin  in  the  chosen 
area  which  is  carefully  cleared  of  all  peb- 
bles. Such  are  removed  by  violent  jerks  of 
the  caudal  fin  or  are  taken  up  by  the 
mouth  and  carried  to  the  circular  bound- 
ary of  the  nest.  An  area  of  fine,  clean  sand 
or  gravel  is  generally  the  result,  but  not 
infrequently,  according  to  Dr.  Reighard, 
the  nest  bottom  is  composed  of  the  root- 
lets of  water  plants.  The  nest  has  a  diam- 
eter of  about  twice  the  length  of  the  fish." 
On  the  nest  thus  formed,  the  sunfish 
belle  is  invited  to  deposit  her  eggs,  which 
as  soon  as  laid  fall  to  the  bottom  and  be- 
come attached  to  the  gravel  at  the  bottom 
of  the  nest  by  the  viscid  substance  which 
surrounds  them.  Her  duty  is  then  done 
and  she  departs,  leaving  the  master  in 
charge  of  his  home  and  the  eggs.  If  truth 
be  told,  he  is  not  a  strict  monogamist. 
Professor  Reighard  noticed  one  of  these 
males  which  reared  in  one  nest  two  broods 
laid  at  quite  different  times  by  two  fe- 
males. For  about  a  week,  depending  upon 


PISHES 


the  temperature,  the  male  is  absorbed  in 
his  care  of  the  eggs  and  defends  his  nest 
with  much  ferocity;  but  after  the  eggs 
have  hatched  he  considers  his  duty  done 
and  lets  his  progeny  take  care  of"  them- 
selves as  best  they  may. 

Sunfish  are  easily  taken  care  of  in  an 
aquarium,  but  each  should  be  kept  by 
himself,  as  they  are  likely  to  attack  any 
smaller  fish  and  are  most  uncomfortable 
neighbors.  I  have  kept  one  of  these  beauti- 


165 


2.  What  is  the  general  shape  of  the 
sunfish's  body  as   seen  from  above?  As 
seen  from  the  side?  Why  is  it  called  pump- 
kinseed? 

3.  Describe  the  dorsal  fin.  How  many 
spines  has  it?  How  many  soft  rays?  What 
is  the  difference  in  appearance  between 
the  front  and  hind  dorsal  fin?  Do  the 
two  act  together  or  separately?  Describe 
the  tail  fin.  Describe  the  anal  fin.  Has  it 
any  spines?  If  so,  where  are  they?  Where 


ful,  shimmering  pumpkinseeds  for  nearly      are  the  ventral  fins  in  relation  to  the  pec- 


a  year  by  feeding  him  every  alternate 
day  with  an  earthworm;  the  unfortunate 
worms  are  kept  stored  in  damp  soil  in  an 
iron  kettle  during  the  winter.  When  I 
threw  one  of  them  into  the  aquarium  the 
sunfish  would  seize  it  and  shake  it  as  a 
terrier  shakes  a  rat;  but  this  was  perhaps 
to  make  sure  of  his  hold.  Once  he  at- 
tempted to  take  a  second  worm  directly 
after  the  first;  but  it  was  a  doubtful  pro- 
ceeding, and  the  worm  reappeared  as  often 
as  a  prima  donna,  waving  each  time  a  fren- 
zied farewell  to  the  world. 

SUGGESTED  READING— Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Backyard  Explo- 
ration, by  Paul  G.  Howes;  The  Pet  Book, 
by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  readings  on 
page  144. 

LESSON  42 

THE  SUNFISH 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  pumpkin- 
seeds  are  very  gamy  little  fishes  which 
seize  the  hook  with  much  fierceness.  They 
live  in  the  still  waters  of  our  streams  or 
in  ponds  and  build  nests  in  the  spring, 
in  which  the  eggs  are  laid  and  which  they 
defend  valiantly. 

METHOD  —  The  common  pumpkinseed 
in  the  jar  aquarium  is  all  that  is  neces- 
sary for  this  lesson.  However,  it  will  add 
much  to  the  interest  of  the  lesson  if  the 
boys  who  have  fished  for  pumpkinseeds 
will  tell  of  their  experiences.  The  chil- 
dren should  acquire  from  this  lesson 
an  interest  in  nesting  habits  of  the  sun- 
fishes. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  are  the  sun- 
fish  found?  How  do  they  act  when  they 
take  the  hook? 


torals?  What  is  there  peculiar  about  the 
appearance  and  movements  of  the  pec- 
toral fins? 

4.  Describe  the  eye  of  the  sunfish.  Is 
it  large  or  small?  Is  'it  placed  so  that  the 
fish  can  see  on  each  side?  Does  the  eye 
move  in  all  directions? 

5.  Describe  the  position  of  the  mouth. 
In  which  direction  does  it  open? 

6.  What  is  the  color  of  the  upper  por- 
tion of  the  gill  opening  or  operculum? 
What  is  the  general  color  of  the  sunfish? 
Above?  Below?  Along  the  sides?  What 
markings  do  you  see? 

7.  Where  does  the  sunfish  make  its 
nest?  Does  the  father  or  mother  sunfish 
make  the  nest?  Does  one  or  both  protect 
it?  Describe  the  nest. 

8.  How  many  names  do  you  know  for 
the  sunfish?  Describe  the  actions  of  your 
sunfish  in  the  aquarium.  How  does  he  act 
when  eating  an  earthworm? 

The  lamprey  is  not  a  fish  at  all,  only  a 
wicked  imitation  of  one  which  can  deceive 
nobody.  But  there  are  fishes  which  are  un- 
questionably fish  —  fish  from  gills  to  tail, 
from  head  to  fin,  and  of  these  the  little 
sunfish  may  stand  first.  He  comes  up  the 
brook  in  the  spring,  fresh  as  "  coin  just 
from  the  mint/'  finny  arms  and  legs  wide 
spread,  his  gills  moving,  his  mouth  open- 
ing and  shutting  rhythmically,  his  tail 
wide  spread,  and  ready  for  any  sudden 
motion  for  which  his  erratic  little  brain 
may  give  the  order.  The  scales  of  the  sun- 
fish  shine  with  all  sorts  of  scarlet,  blue, 
green,  and  purple  and  golden  colors. 
There  is  a  blaclc  spot  on  his  head  which 
looks  like  an  ear,  and  sometimes  grows  out 


i66 


ANIMALS 


in  a  long  black  flap,  which  makes  the  imi- 
tation still  closer.  There  are  many  species 
of  the  sunfish,  and  there  may  be  half  a 
dozen  of  them  in  the  same  brook,  but 
that  makes  no  difference;  for  our  purposes 
they  are  all  one. 

They  lie  poised  in  the  water,  with  all 
fins  spread,  strutting  like  turkey-cocks, 
snapping  at  worms  and  little  crustaceans 
and  insects  whose  only  business  in  the 
brook  is  that  the  fishes  may  eat  them. 
When  the  time  comes,  the  sunfish  makes 
its  nest  in  the  fine  gravel,  building  it  with 
some  care  —  for  a  fish.  When  the  female 


has  laid  her  eggs  the  male  stands  guard 
until  the  eggs  are  hatched.  His  sharp  teeth 
and  snappish  ways,  and  the  bigness  of  his 
appearance  when  the  fins  are  all  displayed, 
keep  the  little  fishes  away.  Sometimes,  in 
his  zeal,  he  snaps  at  a  hook  baited  with  a 
worm.  He  then  makes  a  fierce  fight,  and 
the  boy  who  holds  the  rod  is  sure  that  he 
has  a  real  fish  this  time.  But  when  the 
sunfish  is  out  of  the  water,  strung  on  a 
willow  rod,  and  dried  in  the  sun,  the  boy 
sees  that  a  very  little  fish  can  make  a  good 
deal  of  a  fuss. 

—  DAVID  STARR  JORDAN 


State  of  New  York  Conservation  Department 


Johnny  darter 
Boleosoma  nigrum 


THE  JOHNNY  DARTER 

We  never  tired  of  watching  the  little  Johnny,  or  Tessellated  darter  (Boleosoma  ni- 
grum); although  our  earliest  aquarium  friend,  (and  the  very  first  specimens  showed 
us  by  a  rapid  ascent  of  the  river  weed  how  "  a  Johnny  could  climb  trees/')  he  has  still 
many  resources  which  we  have  never  learned.  Whenever  we  try  to  catch  him  with  the 
hand  we  begin  with  all  the  uncertainty  that  characterized  our  first  attempts,  even  if  we 
have  him  in  a  two-quart  pail.  We  may  know  him  by  his  short  fins,  his  first  dorsal  having 
but  nine  spines,  and  by  the  absence  of  all  color  save  a  soft,  yellowish  brown,  which  is 
freckled  with  darker  markings.  The  dark  brown  on  the  sides  is'arranged  in  seven  or  eight 
W-shaped  marks,  below  which  are  a  few  flecks  of  the  same  color.  Covering  the  sides  of 
the  back  are  the  wavy  markings  and  dark  specks  which  have  given  the  name  of  the 
"  Tessellated  Darter  ";  but  Boleosoma  is  a  preferred  name,  and  we  even  prefer  "  boly  " 
for  short.  In  the  spring  the  males  have  the  head  jet  black;  and  this  dark  color  often  ex- 
tends on  the  back  part  of  the  body,  so  that  the  fish  looks  as  if  he  had  been  taken  by  the 
tail  and  dipped  into  a  bottle  of  ink.  But  with  the  end  of  the  nuptial  season  this  color 
disappears  and  the  fish  regains  his  normal,  strawy  hue. 

His  actions  are  rather  bird-like;  for  he  will  strike  attitudes  like  a  tufted  titmouse  and 
he  flies  rather  than  swims  through  the  water.  He  will,  with  much  perseverance,  push 
his  body  between  a  plant  and  the  sides  of  the  aquarium  and  balance  himself  on  a  slen- 


FISHES 


167 


der  stem.  Crouching  catlike  before  a  snail  shell,  he  will  snap  off  a  horn  which  the  un- 
lucky owner  pushes  timidly  out.  But  he  is  also  less  dainty  and  seizing  the  animal  by  the 
head,  he  dashes  the  shell  against  the  glass  or  stones  until  he  pulls  the  body  out  or 
breaks  the  shell.  — DAVID  STARR  JORDAN 


The  johnny  darters  are,  with  the  stickle- 
backs, the  most  amusing  little  fish  in 
the  aquarium.  They  are  well  called  darters 
since  their  movements  are  so  rapid  when 
they  are  frightened  that  the  eye  can 
scarcely  follow  them;  and  there  is  some- 
thing so  irresistibly  comical  in  their  bright, 
saucy  eyes,  placed  almost  on  top  of  the 
head,  that  no  one  could  help  calling  one 
of  them  "  Johnny."  A  "  johnny  "  will  look 
at  you  from  one  side,  and  then  as  quick 
as  a  flash,  will  flounce  around  and  study 
you  with  the  other  eye  and  then  come 
toward  you  head-on  so  that  he  may  take 
you  in  with  both  eyes;  he  seems  just  as 
interested  in  the  Johnny  out  of  the  jar 
as  is  the  latter  in  the  johnny  within. 

The  johnny  darter  has  a  queerly  shaped 
body  for  a  fish,  for  the  head  and  shoulders 
are  the  larger  part  of  him  —  not  that  he 
suddenly  disappears  into  nothingness;  by 
no  means!  His  body  is  long  and  very 
slightly  tapering  to  the  tail;  along  his 
lateral  line  he  has  a  row  of  olive-brown 
W's  worked  out  in  scale-mosaic;  and  he 
has  some  other  scale-mosaics  also  follow- 
ing a  pattern  of  angular  lines  and  making 
blotches  along  his  back.  The  whole  upper 
part  of  his  body  is  pale  olive,  which  is  a 
good  imitation  of  the  color  of  the  brook. 

The  astonished  and  anxious  look  on  the 
johnny  darter's  face  comes  from  the  pe- 
culiar position  of  the  eyes,  which  are  set 
in  the  top  of  his  forehead;  they  are  big, 
alert  eyes,  with  large  black  pupils,  sur- 
rounded by  a  shining,  pale  yellow  line  at 
the  inner  edge  of  the  green  iris;  and  as  the 
pupil  is  not  set  in  the  center  of  the  eye, 
the  iris  above  being  wider  than  below, 
the  result  is  an  astonished  look,  as  from 
raised  eyebrows.  The  eyes  move,  often 
so  swiftly  that  it  gives  the  impression  of 
winking.  The  eyes,  the  short  snout,  and 
the  wide  mouth  give  johnny  a  decidedly 
froglike  aspect. 

Although  he  is  no  frog,  yet  johnny 
darter  seems  to  be  in  a  fair  way  to  de- 


velop something  to  walk  upon.  His  pec- 
toral fins  are  large  and  strong  and  the 
ventral  pair  are  situated  very  close  to 
them;  when  he  rests  upon  the  gravel  he 
supports  himself  upon  one  or  both  of 
these  pairs  of  fins.  He  rests  with  the  pec- 
toral fins  outspread,  the  sharp  points  of 
the  rays  taking  hold  of  the  gravel  like 
toenails  and  thus  giving  him  the  appear- 
ance of  walking  on  his  fins;  if  you  poke 
him  gently,  you  will  find  that  he  is  very 
firmly  planted  on  his  fins  so  that  you  can 
turn  him  around  as  if  he  were  on  a  pivot. 
He  also  uses  the  pectorals  for  swimming 
and  jerks  himself  along  with  them  in  a 
way  that  makes  one  wonder  if  he  could 
not  swim  well  without  any  tail  at  all.  The 
tail  is  large  and  almost  straight  across 
the  end  and  is  a  most  vigorous  pusher. 
There  are  two  dorsal  fins.  The  front  one 
has  only  spiny  rays;  when  the  fin  is  raised 
it  appears  almost  semicircular  in  shape. 
The  second  dorsal  fin  is  much  longer,  and 
when  lifted  stands  higher  than  the  front 
fin;  its  rays  are  all  soft  except  the  front 
one.  As  soon  as  the  johnny  stops  swim- 
ming he  shuts  the  front  dorsal  fin  so  that 
it  can  scarcely  be  detected;  when  he  is 
frightened,  his  body  lies  motionless  on  the 
bottom;  this  act  always  reminds  one  of 
the  "freezing"  habit  of  the  rabbit.  But 
johnny  does  not  stay  scared  very  long;  he 
lifts  his  head  up  inquisitively,  stretching 
up  as  far  as  he  is  able  on  his  feet,  that  is, 
his  paired  fins,  in  such  a  comical  way  that 
one  can  hardly  realize  he  is  a  fish. 

The  tail  and  the  dorsal  fin  of  the  johnny 
darter  are  marked  with  silver  dots  which 
give  them  an  exquisite  spun-glass  look; 
they  are  as  transparent  as  gauze. 

The  johnny  darters  live  in  clear,  swift 
streams  where  they  rest  on  the  bottom, 
with  the  head  upstream.  Dr.  Jordan  has 
said  they  can  climb  up  water  weed  with 
their  paired  fins.  I  have  never  observed 
them  doing  this  but  I  have  often  seen  one 
walk  around  the  aquarium  on  his  fins  as  if 


i68 


ANIMALS 


they  were  little  fan-shaped  feet;  and  when 
swimming  he  uses  his  fins  as  a  bird  uses 
its  wings.  There  are  many  species  of  dart- 
ers, some  of  them  the  most  brilliantly 
colored  of  all  our  fresh-water  fishes.  The 
darters  are  perchlike  in  form. 

Dr.  Jordan  says  of  the  breeding  habits 
of  the  darters:  "  On  the  bottom,  among 
the  stones,  the  female  casts  her  spawn. 
Neither  she  nor  the  male  pays  any  further 
attention  to  it,  but  in  the  breeding  season 
the  male  is  painted  in  colors  as  beautiful 
as  those  of  the  wood  warblers.  When  you 
go  to  the  brook  in  the  spring  you  will 
find  him  there,  and  if  you  catch  him  and 
turn  him  over  on  his  side  you  will  see 
the  colors  that  he  shows  to  his  mate,  and 
which  observation  shows  are  most  useful 
in  frightening  away  his  younger  rivals.  But 
do  not  hurt  him.  Put  him  back  in  the 
brook  and  let  him  paint  its  bottom  with 
colors  of  a  rainbow,  a  sunset  or  a  garden 
of  roses.  All  that  can  be  done  with  blue, 
crimson  and  green  pigments,  in  fish  orna- 
mentation, you  will  find  in  some  brook  in 
which  the  darters  live." 

SUGGESTED  READING— Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Nature  and  Sci- 
ence Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Har- 
rison E.  Howe,  Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits; 
The  Pet  Boole,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock; 
The  Pond  Book,  by  Walter  P.  Porter  and 
Einar  A.  Hansen;  also,  readings  on  page 
144. 

LESSON  43 
JOHNNY  DARTER 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  johnny  darter 
naturally  rests  upon  the  bottom  of  the 
stream.  It  uses  its  two  pairs  of  paired  fins 
somewhat  as  feet  in  a  way  interesting  to 
observe. 

METHOD  —  Johnny  darters  may  be 
caught  in  nets  with  other  small  fish  and 
placed  in  the  aquarium.  Place  one  or  two 
of  them  in  individual  aquaria  where  the 
pupils  may  observe  them  at  their  leisure. 
They  do  best  in  running  water. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  Describe  or  sketch 
the  johnny  darter  from  above.  From  the 
side.  Can  you  see  the  W-shaped  marks 


along  its  side?  How  is  it  colored  above? 

2.  How  are  the  pectoral  fins  placed? 
Are  they  large  or  small?  How  are  they 
used  in  swimming?  Where  are  the  ventral 
fins  placed?  How  are  the  ventrals   and 
dorsals  used  together?  When  resting  on 
the  bottom  how  are  the  pectoral  fins  used? 

3.  What  is  there  peculiar  about  the 
dorsal  fins  of  the  johnny  darter?  When  he 
is  resting,  what  is  the  attitude  of  the  dorsal 
fins?  What  is  the  difference  in  shape  of 
the  rays  of  the  front  and  hind  dorsal  fins? 

4.  When  resting  on  the  bottom  of  the 
aquarium  how  is  the  body  held?  On  what 
does  it  rest?  In  moving  about  the  bottom 
slowly  why  does  it  seem  to  walk?  How 
does  it  climb  up  water  weed? 

5.  When  frightened  how  does  it  act? 
Why  is  it  called  a  darter?  What  is  the 
attitude  of  all  the  fins  when  the  fish  is 
moving  swiftly? 

6.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  tail? 

7.  What  is  there  peculiar  about  the  eyes 
of  the  johnny?  Describe  the  eyes  and  their 
position.  What  is  there  in  the  life  of  the 
fish  that  makes  this  position  of  the  eyes 
advantageous? 

8.  Where  do  we  find  the  johnny  dart- 
ers? In  what  part  of  the  stream  do  they 
live?  Are  they  usually  near  the  surface  of 
the  water  or  at  the  bottom? 

To  my  mind,  the  best  of  all  subjects 
for  nature-study  is  a  brook.  It  affords  stud- 
ies of  many  kinds.  It  is  near  and  dear  to 
every  child.  It  is  an  epitome  of  the  nature 
in  which  we  live.  In  miniature,  it  illus- 
trates the  forces  which  have  shaped  much 
of  the  earth's  surface.  It  reflects  the  sky. 
It  is  kissed  by  the  sun.  It  is  rippled  by  the 
wind.  The  minnows  play  in  the  pools. 
The  soft  weeds  grow  in  the  shallows.  The 
grass  and  the  dandelions  lie  on  its  sunny 
banks.  The  moss  and  the  fern  are  shel- 
tered in  the  nooks.  It  comes  from  one 
knows  not  whence;  it  flows  to  one  knows 
not  whither.  It  awakens  the  desire  to  ex- 
plore. It  is  fraught  with  mysteries.  It  typi- 
fies the  flood  of  life.  It  goes  on  forever. 

In  other  words,  the  reason  why  the 
brook  is  such  a  perfect  nature-study  sub- 
ject is  the  fact  that  it  is  the  central  theme 


FISHES 


169 


in  a  scene  of  life.  Living  things  appeal  to 
children. 

Nature-study  not  only  educates,  but 
it  educates  nature-ward;  and  nature  is  ever 
our  companion,  whether  we  will  or  no. 
Even  though  we  are  determined  to  shut 
ourselves  in  an  office,  nature  sends  her 
messengers.  The  light,  the  dark,  the  moon, 
the  cloud,  the  rain,  the  wind,  the  falling 
leaf,  the  fly,  the  bouquet,  the  bird,  the 
cockroach  —  they  are  all  ours. 

If  one  is  to  be  happy,  he  must  be  in 
sympathy  with  common  things.  He  must 
live  in  harmony  with  his  environment. 
One  cannot  be  happy  yonder  nor  to- 
morrow: he  is  happy  here  and  now,  or 
never.  Our  stock  of  knowledge  of  com- 
mon things  should  be  great.  Few  of  us 
can  travel.  We  must  know  the  things  at 
home. 

Nature-love  tends  toward  naturalness, 
and  toward  simplicity  of  living.  It  tends 
country-ward.  One  word  from  the  fields 
is  worth  two  from  the  city.  "  God  made 
the  country.77 

I  expect,  therefore,  that  much  good  will 


come  from  nature-study.  It  ought  to  revo- 
lutionize the  school  life,  for  it  is  capable 
of  putting  new  force  and  enthusiasm  into 
the  school  and  the  child.  It  is  new,  and 
therefore,  is  called  a  fad.  A  movement  is 
a  fad  until  it  succeeds.  We  shall  learn 
much,  and  shall  outgrow  some  of  our  pres- 
ent notions,  but  nature-study  has  come  to 
stay.  It  is  in  much  the  same  stage  of  de- 
velopment that  manual-training  and  kin- 
dergarten work  were  twenty-five  years  ago. 
We  must  take  care  that  it  does  not  crystal- 
lize into  science-teaching  on  the  one  hand, 
nor  fall  into  mere  sentimentalism  on  the 
other. 

I  would  again  emphasize  the  impor- 
tance of  obtaining  our  fact  before  we  let 
loose  the  imagination,  for  on  this  point 
will  largely  turn  the  results  —  the  failure 
or  the  success  of  the  experiment.  We  must 
not  allow  our  fancy  to  run  away  with  us. 
If  we  hitch  our  wagon  to  a  star,  we  must 
ride  with  mind  and  soul  and  body  all  alert. 
When  we  ride  in  such  a  wagon,  we  must 
not  forget  to  put  in  the  tail-board. 

—  "  THE  NATURE-STUDY  IDEA," 
L.  H.  BAILEY 


AMPHIBIANS 


Especially  during  early  spring,  one  is 
likely  to  see  many  frogs,  toads,  and  sala- 
manders about  ponds  and  other  shallow 
water.  These  animals  are  harmless  crea- 
tures; they  do  not  bite  and  their  chief 
method  of  defense  is  to  escape  to  some 
place  of  concealment. 

While  there  are  exceptions  to  the  gen- 
eral rule,  and  great  variations  in  the  life 
habits  of  these  animals,  it  may  be  said 
that  they  are  fitted  to  spend  certain  pe- 
riods of  their  lives  on  land  and  other  peri- 
ods in  water.  In  general,  the  immature 
stages  are  passed  in  or  quite  near  water 
and  the  young  are  commonly  called  tad- 
poles. Of  course,  this  means  that  the  males 
and  females  of  most  species  must  return 
each  year  to  the  ponds,  streams,  or  pools 
for  the  purpose  of  mating.  Eggs  are  laid 
at  once  and  usually  hatch  within  a  few 
days;  the  length  of  time  varies  according 
to  the  species  and  the  weather  conditions. 


To  this  entire  group  of  cold-blooded  an- 
imals the  term  amphibian  is  applied;  this 
term  was  selected  because  it  really  means 
"  double  life  "  —  these  animals  live  part  of 
their  lives  on  land  and  part  in  or  quite 
near  water.  The  presence  or  absence  of  a 
tail,  during  adult  life,  divides  the  amphibi- 
ans into  two  more  or  less  natural  groups, 
the  tailed  and  the  tailless  amphibians. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  Nature's 
Trails,  by  Lillian  C.  Athey;  Backyard  Ex- 
ploration, by  Paul  G.  Howes;  Field  Boole 
of  Ponds  and  Streams,  by  Ann  H.  Morgan; 
Our  Great  Outdoors,  Reptiles,  Amphibi- 
ans and  Fishes,  by  C.  W.  G.  Eifrig;  Out- 
of -Doors,  A  Guide  to  Nature,  by  Paul  B. 
Mann  and  George  T.  Hastings;  Reptiles 
and  Amphibians;  Their  Habits  and  Adap- 
tations, by  Thomas  Barbour;  The  Stir  of 
Nature,  by  William  H.  Carr.  (See  also 
the  Bibliography  in  the  back  of  this 
book.) 


THE  TAILLESS  AMPHIBIANS 


This  group  includes  the  frogs  and  toads. 
In  attaining  the  adult  stage  these  animals 
lose  their  tadpole  tails;  but  we  do  not 
mean  that  the  tail  drops  from  the  body; 


rather  let  us  say  that  it  is  absorbed  by 
the  body  before  the  animal  reaches  the 
adult  stage. 


THE  COMMON  TOAD 

The  toad  hopped  by  us  with  jolting  springs.  —  AKERS 


Whoever  has  not  had  a  pet  toad  has 
missed  a  most  entertaining  experience. 
Toad  actions  are  surprisingly  interesting; 
one  of  my  safeguards  against  the  blues  is 
the  memory  of  the  thoughtful  way  one 
of  my  pet  toads  rubbed  and  patted  its 
stomach  with  its  little  hands  after  it  had 
swallowed  a  June  bug.  Toads  do  not  make 
warts  upon  attacking  hands,  neither  do 
they  rain  down  nor  are  they  found  in  the 


bedrock  of  quarries;  but  they  do  have  a 
most  interesting  history  of  their  own, 
which  is  not  at  all  legendary,  and  which 
is  very  like  a  life  with  two  incarnations. 

TADPOLES 

The  mother  toad  lays  her  eggs  in  May 
and  June  in  ponds,  or  in  the  still  pools, 
along  streams;  the  eggs  are  laid  in  long 
strings  of  jelly-like  substance,  and  are 


AMPHIBIANS 


171 


dropped  upon  the  pond  bottom  or  at- 
tached to  water  weeds;  when  first  depos- 
ited, the  jelly  is  transparent  and  the  little 
black  eggs  can  be  plainly  seen;  but  after 
a  day  or  two,  bits  of  dirt  accumulate  upon 
the  jelly,  obscuring  the  eggs.  At  first  the 
eggs  are  spherical,  like  tiny  black  pills; 
but  as  they  begin  to  develop,  they  elongate 
and  finally  the  tadpoles  may  be  seen  wrig- 
gling in  the  jelly  mass,  which  affords  them 
efficient  protection.  After  four  or  five 
days,  the  tadpoles  usually  work  their  way 
out  and  swim  away;  at  this  stage,  the  only 
way  to  detect  the  head  is  by  the  direction 
of  the  tadpole's  progress,  since  it  naturally 
goes  head  first.  However,  the  head  soon 
becomes  decidedly  larger,  although  at  first 
it  is  not  provided  with  a  mouth;  it  has, 
instead,  a  V-shaped  elevation  where  the 
mouth  should  be,  which  forms  a  sucker 
secreting  a  sticky  substance.  By  means  of 
this  substance  the  tadpole  attaches  itself 
to  water  weeds,  resting  head  up.  When 
the  tadpoles  are  two  or  three  days  old,  we 
can  detect  little  tassels  on  either  side  of 


The  toad  in  various  stages  of  development 
from  the  egg  to  the  adult 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Eggs  of  the  spadefoot  toad,  Bufo  com- 
pactilis.  Some  toads  lay  as  many  as  8,000  eggs 
in  a  season 

the  throat,  which  are  the  gills  by  which 
the  little  creature  breathes;  the  blood 
passes  through  these  gills,  and  is  purified 
by  coming  in  contact  with  the  air  which 
is  mixed  in  the  water.  About  ten  days 
later,  these  gills  disappear  beneath  a  mem- 
brane which  grows  down  over  them;  but 
they  are  still  used  for  breathing,  simply 
having  changed  position  from  the  outside 
to  the  inside  of  the  throat.  The  water 
enters  the  nostrils  to  the  mouth,  passes 
through  an  opening  in  the  throat  and 
flows  over  the  gills  and  out  through  a  little 
opening  at  the  left  side  of  the  body;  this 
opening  or  breathing-pore  can  be  easily 
seen  in  the  larger  tadpoles;  and  when  the 
left  arm  develops,  it  is  pushed  out  through 
this  convenient  orifice. 

When  about  ten  days  old,  the  tadpole 
has  developed  a  small,  round  mouth 
which  is  constantly  in  search  of  some- 
thing to  eat,  and  at  the  same  time  is  con- 
stantly opening  and  shutting  to  take  in 
air  for  the  gills;  the  mouth  is  provided 
with  horny  jaws  for  biting  off  pieces  of 
plants.  As  the  tadpole  develops,  its  mouth 
gets  larger  and  wider  and  extends  back 
beneath  the  eyes,  with  a  truly  toadlike 
expansiveness. 

At  first,  the  tadpole's  eyes  are  even  with 
the  surface  of  the  head  and  can  scarcely 
be  seen,  but  later  they  become  more  prom- 
inent and  bulge  like  the  eyes  of  the  adult 
toad. 

The  tail  of  the  tadpole  is  long  and  flat, 
surrounded  by  a  fin,  and  so  is  an  or- 
gan for  swimming.  It  strikes  the  water, 
first  this  side  and  then  that,  making  most 
graceful  curves,  which  seem  to  originate 


ANIMALS 


_  _ 

A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Eggs  of  Hammond's  spadefoot,  Scaphiopus 
hammondii.  Although  it  looks  so  like  our  com- 
mon toad}  the  spadefoot  belongs  to  a  different 
genus;  it  lays  its  eggs  in  cylindrical  masses  on 
submerged  twigs  or  grass 

near  the  body  and  multiply  toward  the 
tip  of  the  tail.  This  movement  propels 
the  tadpole  forward,  or  in  any  direction. 
The  tail  is  very  thin  when  seen  from 
above;  and  it  is  amusing  to  look  at  a  tad- 
pole from  above,  and  then  at  the  side;  it 
is  like  squaring  a  circle. 

There  is  a  superstition  that  tadpoles 
eat  their  tails;  and  in  a  sense  this  is  true, 
because  the  material  that  is  in  the  tail  is 
absorbed  into  the  growing  body;  but  the 
last  thing  a  right-minded  tadpole  would 
do  would  be  to  bite  off  its  own  tail.  How- 
ever, if  some  other  tadpole  should  bite  off 
the  tail  or  a  growing  leg,  these  organs 
conveniently  grow  anew. 

When  the  tadpole  is  a  month  or  two 
old,  depending  upon  the  species,  its  hind 
legs  begin  to  show;  they  first  appear  as 
mere  buds  which  finally  push  out  com- 
pletely. The  feet  are  long  and  are  pro- 
vided with  five  toes,  of  which  the  fourth 
is  the  longest;  the  toes  are  webbed  so  that 
they  may  be  used  to  help  in  swimming. 
Two  weeks  later  the  arms  begin  to  appear, 


the  left  one  pushing  out  through  the 
breathing-pore.  The  "  hands "  have  four 
fingers  and  are  not  webbed;  they  are  used 
in  the  water  for  balancing,  while  the  hind 
legs  are  used  for  pushing,  as  the  tail  be- 
comes smaller. 

As  the  tadpole  grows  older,  not  only 
does  its  tail  become  shorter  but  its  actions 
change.  It  now  comes  often  to  the  surface 
of  the  water  in  order  to  get  more  air  for 
its  gills,  although  it  lacks  the  frog  tad- 
pole's nice  adjustment  of  the  growing 
lungs  and  the  disappearing  gills.  At  last, 
some  fine  rainy  day,  the  little  creature 
feels  that  it  is  finally  fitted  to  live  the  life 
of  a  land  animal.  It  may  not  be  a  half  inch 
in  length,  with  big  head,  attenuated  body, 
and  stumpy  tail,  but  it  swims  to  the  shore, 
lifts  itself  on  its  front  legs,  which  are 
scarcely  larger  than  pins,  and  walks  off, 
toeing  in,  with  a  very  grownup  air;  and 
at  this  moment  the  tadpole  attains  toad- 
ship.  Numbers  of  tadpoles  come  out  of 
the  water  together,  hopping  hither  and 
thither  with  all  of  the  eagerness  and  vim 
of  untried  youth.  It  is  through  issuing 
thus  in  hordes  from  the  water  that  they 
gain  the  reputation  of  being  rained  down, 
when  they  really  were  rained  up.  It  is  quite 
impossible  for  a  beginner  to  detect  the 
difference  between  the  toad  and  the  frog 
tadpole;  usually  those  of  the  toads  are 
black,  while  those  of  the  frogs  are  other- 
wise colored,  though  this  is  not  an  in- 
variable distinction.  The  best  way  to  dis- 
tinguish the  two  is  to  get  the  eggs  and 
develop  the  two  families  separately. 

THE  ADULT  TOAD 

The  general  color  of  the  common 
American  toad  is  extremely  variable.  It 
may  be  yellowish  brown,  with  spots  of 
lighter  color,  and  with  reddish  or  yellow 
warts.  There  are  likely  to  be  four  irregu- 
lar spots  of  dark  color  along  each  side  of 
the  middle  of  the  back,  and  the  under 
parts  are  light-colored,  often  somewhat 
spotted.  The  throat  of  the  male  toad  is 
black  and  he  is  not  so  bright  in  color  as  is 
the  female.  The  warts  upon  the  back  are 
glands,  which  secrete  a  substance  disa- 


AMPHIBIANS 


greeable  for  the  animal  seeking  toad  din- 
ners. This  is  especially  true  of  the  glands 
in  the  elongated  swellings  above  and  just 
back  of  the  ear,  which  are  called  the  pa- 
rotid glands;  these  give  forth  a  milky,  poi- 
sonous substance  when  the  toad  is  seized 
by  an  enemy,  although  the  snakes  do  not 
seem  to  mind  it.  Some  people  have  an 
idea  that  the  toad  is  slimy,  but  this  is  not 
true;  the  skin  is  perfectly  dry.  The  toad 
feels  cold  to  the  hand  because  it  is  a 
cold-blooded  animal,  which  means  an  ani- 
mal with  blood  the  temperature  of  the 
surrounding  atmosphere;  the  blood  of  the 
warm-blooded  animal  has  a  temperature 
of  its  own,  which  it  maintains  whether 
the  surrounding  air  is  cold  or  hot. 

The  toad's  face  is  well  worth  study;  its 
eyes  are  elevated  and  very  pretty,  the  pupil 
being  oval  and  the  surrounding  iris  shin- 
ing like  gold.  The  toad  winks  in  a  whole- 
sale fashion,  the  eyes  being  pulled  down 
into  the  head;  the  eyes  are  provided  with 
nictitating  lids,  which  rise  from  below, 
and  are  similar  to  those  found  in  birds. 
When  a  toad  is  sleeping,  its  eyes  do  not 
bulge  but  are  drawn  in,  so  as  to  lie  even 
with  the  surface  of  the  head.  The  two 


S.  H.  Gage 

A  common  toad,  Bufo  americanus,  as  he 
appears  in  winter  sleep  and  after  awakening 
in  the  spring 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

The  giant  toad,  Bufo  alvarius.  This  huge 
toad  of  the  Southwest  is  from  3^4  to  6% 
inches  long.  If  molested  it  will  secrete  a  fluid 
which  is  strong  enough  to  paralyze  a  dog 

tiny  nostrils  are  black  and  are  easily  seen; 
the  ear  is  a  flat,  oval  spot  behind  the  eye 
and  a  little  lower  down;  in  the  common 
species  it  is  not  quite  so  large  as  the  eye; 
this  is  really  the  eardrum,  since  there  is 
no  external  ear  like  ours.  The  toad's 
mouth  is  wide  and  its  jaws  are  horny;  it 
does  not  need  teeth  since  it  swallows  its 
prey  whole. 

The  toad  is  a  jumper,  as  may  be  seen 
from  its  long,  strong  hind  legs,  the  feet  of 
which  are  also  long  and  strong  and  are 
armed  with  five  toes  that  are  somewhat 
webbed.  The  "  arms "  are  shorter  and 
there  are  four  "  fingers  "  to  each  "  hand  "; 
when  the  toad  is  resting,  its  front  feet 
toe-in  in  a  comical  fashion.  If  a  toad  is  re- 
moved from  an  earth  or  moss  garden7 
and  put  into  a  white  wash-bowl,  in  a  few 
hours  it  will  change  to  a  lighter  hue,  and 
vice  versa.  This  is  part  of  its  protective 
color,  making  it  inconspicuous  to  the 
eyes  of  its  enemy.  It  prefers  to  live  in 
cool,  damp  places,  beneath  sidewalks  or 
porches,  etc.,  and  its  warty  upper  surface 
resembles  the  surrounding  earth.  If  it  is 
disturbed,  it  will  seek  to  escape  by  long 
leaps,  and  acts  frightened;  but  if  very 
much  frightened,  it  flattens  out  on  the 
ground,  and  looks  so  nearly  like  a  clod  of 
earth  that  it  may  escape  even  the  keen 
eyes  of  its  pursuer.  When  seized  by  the 
enemy,  it  will  sometimes  "  play  possum," 
acting  as  if  it  were  dead;  but  when  actually 
in  the  mouth  of  the  foe,  it  emits  terrified 
and  heart-rending  cries. 

The  toad's  tongue  is  attached  to  the 


ANIMALS 


lower  jaw,  at  the  front  edge  of  the  mouth; 
it  can  thus  be  thrust  far  out,  and  since 
it  secretes  a  sticky  substance  over  its  sur- 
face, any  insects  which  it  touches  adhere, 
and  are  drawn  back  into  the  mouth 
and  swallowed.  It  takes  a  quick  eye  to  see 
this  tongue  fly  out  and  make  its  catch. 
The  tadpole  feeds  mostly  upon  vegetable 
matter,  but  the  toad  lives  entirely  upon 
small  animals,  usually  insects;  it  is  not  par- 
ticular as  to  what  kind  of  insects,  but  be- 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

The  little  green  toad,  Bufo  debilis.  This 
small  amphibian,  resembling  a  lichen  in  ap- 
pearance, is  about  1%  inches  long.  It  lives  in 
grassy  ^  flat  lands  from  Kansas  and  Colorado 
south  into  northern  Mexico 

cause  of  the  situations  which  it  haunts,  it 
usually  feeds  upon  those  which  are  injuri- 
ous to  grass  and  plants.  Indeed,  the  toad 
is  really  the  friend  of  the  gardener  and 
the  farmer,  and  has  been  most  ungrate- 
fully treated  by  those  whom  it  has  be- 
friended. If  you  doubt  that  a  toad  is  an 
animal  of  judgment,  watch  it  when  it  finds 
an  earthworm  and  set  your  doubts  at  rest! 
It  will  walk  around  the  squirming  worm, 
until  it  can  seize  it  by  the  head,  apparently 
knowing  well  that  the  horny  hooks  ex- 
tending backward  from  the  segments  of 
the  worm  are  likely  to  rasp  the  throat  if 
swallowed  the  wrong  way.  If  the  worm 
prove  too  large  a  mouthful,  the  toad 
promptly  uses  its  hands  in  an  amusing 
fashion  to  stuff  the  wriggling  morsel  down 
its  throat.  When  swallowing  a  large 
mouthful,  it  closes  its  eyes;  but  whether 
this  aids  the  process,  or  is  merely  an  ex- 
pression of  bliss,  we  have  not  determined. 
The  toad  never  drinks  by  taking  in  water 


through  the  mouth,  but  absorbs  it  through 
the  skin;  when  it  wishes  to  drink,  it 
stretches  itself  out  in  shallow  water  and 
thus  satisfies  its  thirst;  it  will  waste  away 
and  die  in  a  short  time,  if  kept  in  a  dry 
atmosphere. 

The  toad  burrows  in  the  earth  by  a 
method  of  its  own,  hard  to  describe.  It 
kicks  backward  with  its  strong  hind  legs, 
and  in  some  mysterious  way,  the  earth 
soon  covers  all  excepting  its  head;  then, 
if  an  enemy  comes  along,  back  goes  the 
head,  the  earth  caves  in  around  it,  and 
where  is  your  toad!  It  remains  in  its  bur- 
row or  hiding  place  usually  during  the  day, 
and  comes  out  at  night  to  feed.  This  habit 
is  an  advantage,  because  snakes  are  then 
safely  at  home  and,  too,  there  are  many 
more  insects  to  be  found  at  night.  The 
sagacious  toads  have  discovered  that  the 
vicinity  of  street  lights  is  swarming  with 
insects,  and  there  they  gather  in  numbers. 
In  winter  they  burrow  deeply  in  the 
ground  and  go  to  sleep,  remaining  dor- 
mant until  the  warmth  of  spring  awakens 
them;  then  they  come  out,  and  the  mother 
toads  seek  their  native  ponds  there  to  lay 
eggs  for  the  coming  generation.  They  are 
excellent  swimmers;  when  they  are  swim- 
ming rapidly,  the  front  legs  are  laid  back- 
ward along  the  sides  of  the  body,  so  as  to 
offer  no  resistance  to  the  water;  but  when 
they  are  moving  slowly,  the  front  legs 
are  used  for  balancing  and  for  keeping 
afloat. 

The  song  of  the  toad  is  a  pleasant, 
crooning  sound,  a  sort  of  guttural  trill;  it 
is  made  when  the  throat  is  puffed  out  al- 
most globular,  thus  forming  a  vocal  sac; 
the  sound  is  made  by  the  air  drawn  in  at 
the  nostrils  and  passed  back  and  forth 
from  the  lungs  to  the  mouth  over  the 
vocal  chords,  the  puffed-out  throat  acting 
as  a  resonator. 

The  toad  has  no  ribs  by  which  to  inflate 
the  chest,  and  thus  draw  air  into  the  lungs, 
as  we  do  when  we  breathe;  it  is  obliged 
to  swallow  the  air  instead  and  thus  force 
it  into  the  lungs.  This  movement  is  shown 
in  the  constant  pulsation,  in  and  out,  of 
the  membrane  of  the  throat. 

As  the  toad  grows,  it  sheds  its  homy 


AMPHIBIANS 


skin,  which  it  swallows;  as  this  process  is 
usually  done  strictly  in  private,  the  ordi- 
nary observer  sees  it  but  seldom.  One  of 
the  toad's  nice  common  qualities  is  its 
enjoyment  in  having  its  back  scratched 
gently. 

The  toad  has  many  enemies;  chief 
among  these  is  the  snake  and  only  less 
so  are  crows  and  also  birds  of  prey. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Frog  Book, 
by  Mary  C.  Dickerson;  Handbook  of 
Frogs  and  Toads,  by  Anna  A.  and  Albert 
H.  Wright;  Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fan- 
nie W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book 
2,  By  the  Roadside;  Nature  and  Science 
Readers,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison 
E.  Howe/Book  i,  Hunting;  The  Pond 
Book,  by  Walter  P.  Porter  and  Einar  A. 
Hansen;  Science  Stories,  by  Wilbur  L. 
Beauchamp  and  Co-authors,  Book  i;  also, 
readings  on  page  170. 

LESSON  44 

THE  TADPOLE  AQUARIUM 
LEADING     THOUGHT  —  The     children 
should  understand  how  to  make  the  tad- 
poles comfortable  and  thus  be  able  to  rear 
them. 

MATERIALS  —  A  tin  or  agate  pan,  a  deep 
earthenware  wash-bowl,  a  glass  dish,  or  a 
wide-mouthed  glass  jar. 

THINGS  TO  BE  DONE  —  i.  Go  to  some 
pond  where  tadpoles  live. 

2.  Take  some  of  the  small  stones  on 
the  bottom  and  at  the  sides  of  the  pond, 
lifting  them  very  gently  so  as  not  to  dis- 
turb what  is  growing  on  their  surface. 
Place  these  stones  on  the  bottom  of  the 
pan,  building  up  one  side  higher  than  the 
other,  so  that  the  water  will  be  more  shal- 
low on  one  side  than  on  the  other;  a 
stone  or  two  should  project  above  the 
water. 

3.  Take  some  of  the  mud  and  leaves 
from  the  bottom  of  the  pond,  being  care- 
ful not  to  disturb  them,  and  place  upon 
the  stones. 

4.  Take  some  of  the  plants  found  grow- 
ing under  water  in  the  pond  and  plant 
them  among  the  stones. 

5.  Carry  the  pan  thus  prepared  back  to 


the  schoolhouse  and  place  it  where  the 
sun  will  not  shine  directly  upon  it. 

6.  Bring  a  pail  of  water  from  the  pond 
and  pour  it  very  gently  in  at  one  side  of 
the  pan,  so  as  not  to  disarrange  the  plants; 
fill  the  pan  nearly  to  the  brim. 

7.  After  the  mud  has  settled  and  the 
water  is  perfectly  clear,  remove  some  of 
the  tadpoles  which  have  hatched  in  the 
glass  aquarium  and  place  them  in  the 
"  pond/'  Not  more  than  a  dozen  should 
be  put  in  a  pan  of  this  size,  since  the 
amount  of  food  and  microscopic  plants 
which  are  on  the  stones  in  the  mud  will 
afford  food  for  only  a  few  tadpoles. 

8.  Every  week  add  a  little  more  mud 
from  the  bottom  of  the  pond  or  another 
stone  covered  with  slime,  which  is  prob- 
ably some  plant  growth.  More  water  from 
the  pond  should  be  added  to  replace  that 
evaporated. 

9.  Care  should  be  taken  that  the  tad- 
pole aquarium  be  kept  where  the  sun  will 
not  shine  directly  upon  it  for  any  length 
of  time,  because  if  the  water  gets  too 
warm  the  tadpoles  will  die. 

10.  Pvemove    the    "  skin "    from    one 
side  of  a  tulip  leaf,  so  as  to  expose  the 
pulp  of  the  leaf,  and  give  to  the  tadpoles 
every  day  or  two.  Bits  of  hard-boiled  egg 
should  be  given  now  and  then. 

TOADS'  EGGS  AND  TADPOLES 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  toads'  eggs 
are  laid  in  strings  of  jelly  in  ponds.  The 
eggs  hatch  into  tadpoles  which  are  crea- 
tures of  the  water,  breathing  by  gills,  and 
swimming  with  a  long  fin.  The  tadpoles 
gradually  change  to  toads,  which  are  air- 
breathing  creatures,  fitted  for  life  on  dry 
land. 

METHOD  —  The  eggs  of  toads  may  be 
found  in  almost  any  pond  about  the  first 
of  May  and  may  be  scraped  up  from  the 
bottom  in  a  scoop-net.  They  should  be 
placed  in  the  aquarium  where  the  children 
can  watch  the  stages  of  development. 
Soon  after  they  are  hatched,  a  dozen  or 
so  should  be  selected  and  placed  in  the 
tadpole  aquarium  and  the  others  put  back 
into  the  stream.  The  children  should  ob- 


F.  Harper  and  A.  A.  Wright 

Southern  toad,  Bufo  terrestris.  When  the 
male  is  croaking  his  throat  is  puffed  out  as 
in  the  picture.  The  color  of  the  Southern  toads 
varies  from  red  or  gray  to  black,  and  in  size 
they  range  in  length  from  1%  inches  to  3% 
inches.  They  are  found  from  North  Carolina 
to  Florida  and  west  to  the  Mississippi  River 


serve  the  tadpoles  every  day,  watching 
carefully  all  the  changes  of  structure  and 
habit  which  take  place.  If  properly  fed, 
the  tadpoles  will  be  ready  to  leave  the 
water  in  July  as  tiny  toads. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  -  1  .  Where  were  the 
toads'  eggs  found  and  on  what  date?  Were 
they  attached  to  anything  in  the  water  or 
were  they  floating  free?  Are  the  eggs  in 
long  strings?  Do  you  find  any  eggs  laid  in 
jelly-like  masses?  If  so,  what  are  they?  How 
can  you  tell  the  eggs  of  toads  from  those  of 
frogs? 

2.  Is  the  jelly-like  substance  in  which 
the  eggs  are  placed  clear  or  discolored? 
What  is  the  shape  and  the  size  of  the  eggs? 
A  little  later  how  do  they  look?  Do  the 
young  tadpoles  move  about  while  they 
are  still  in  the  jelly  mass? 

3.  Describe  how  the  little  tadpole  works 
its  way  out  from  the  jelly  covering.  Can 
you  distinguish  then  which  is  head  and 
which  is  tail?  How  does  the  tadpole  act  at 
first?  Where  and  how  does  it  rest? 

4.  Can  you  see  with  the  aid  of  a  lens 
the  little  fringes  on  each  side  of  the  neck? 
What  are  these?  Do  these  fringes  dis- 
appear a  little  later?  Do  they  disappear 
on    both    sides    of   the    neck   at    once? 
What  becomes  of  them?  How  does  the 
tadpole  breathe?  Can  you  see  the  little 
hole  on  the  left  side,  through  which  the 
water  used  for  breathing  passes? 


ANIMALS 

5.  How  does  the  tail  look  and  how  is 
it  used?  How  long  is  it  in  proportion  to 
the  body?  Describe  the  act  of  swimming. 

6.  Which   pair   of  legs   appears  first? 
How  do  they  look?  When  they  get  a  little 
larger  are  they  used  as  a  help  in  swim- 
ming? Describe  the  hind  legs  and  feet. 

7.  How  long  after  the  hind  legs  appear 
before  the  front  legs  or  arms  appear?  What 
happens  to  the  breathing-pore  when  the 
left  arm  is  pushed  through? 

8.  After  both  pairs  of  legs  are  developed 
what  happens  to  the  tail?  What  becomes 
of  it? 

9.  When  the  tadpole  is  very  young  can 
you  see  its  eyes?  How  do  they  look  as  it 
grows  older?  Do  they  ever  bulge  out  like 
toads'  eyes? 

10.  As  the  tadpole  gains  its  legs  and 
loses  its  tail  how  does  it  change  in  its 
actions?  How  does  it  swim  now?  Does  it 
come  oftener  to  the  surface?  Why? 

11.  Describe   the   difference   between 
the  front  and  the  hind  legs  and  the  front 
and  the  hind  feet  on  the  fully  grown  tad- 
pole. If  the  tail  or  a  leg  is  bitten  off  by 
some  other  creature  will  it  grow  again? 


LESSON  45 
THE  TOAD 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  toad  is  col- 
ored so  that  it  resembles  the  soil  and  thus 
often  escapes  the  observation  of  its  ene- 
mies. It  lives  in  damp  places  and  eats 
insects,  usually  hunting  them  at  night.  It 
has  powerful  hind  legs  and  is  a  vigorous 
jumper. 

METHOD  —  Make  a  moss  garden  in  a 
glass  aquarium  jar  thus:  Place  some  stones 
or  gravel  in  the  bottom  of  the  jar  and 
cover  with  moss.  Cover  the  jar  with  a  wire 
screen.  The  moss  should  be  deluged  with 
water  at  least  once  a  day  and  the  jar  should 
be  placed  where  the  direct  sunlight  will 
not  reach  it.  In  this  jar,  place  the  toacl  for 
study. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Describe  the  gen- 
eral color  of  the  toad  above  and  below. 
How  does  the  toad's  back  look?  Of  what 
use  are  the  warts  on  its  back? 

2.  Where  is  the  toad  usually  found? 


AMPHIBIANS 


177 


Does  it  feel  warm  or  cold  to  the  hand?  Is 
it  slimy  or  dry?  The  toad  is  a  cold-blooded 
animal;  what  does  this  mean? 

3.  Describe  the  eyes  and  explain  how 
their  situation  is  of  special  advantage  to 
the  toad.  Do  you  think  it  can  see  in  front 
and  behind  and  above  all  at  the  same 
time?  Does  the  bulge  of  the  eyes  help 
in  this?  Note  the  shape  and   color  of 
the  pupil  and  iris.  How  does  the  toad 
wink? 

4.  Find  and  describe  the  nostrils.  Find 
and  describe  the  ear.  Note  the  swelling 
above  and  just  back  of  the  ear.  Do  you 
know  the  use  of  this? 

5.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  toad's 
mouth?  Has  it  any  teeth?  Is  the  toad's 
tongue  attached  to  the  front  or  the  back 
part  of  the  mouth?  How  is  it  used  to  catch 
insects? 

6.  Describe   the   "arms   and   hands." 
How  many  "  fingers  "  on  the  "  hand  "? 
Which  way  do  the  fingers  point  when  the 
toad  is  sitting  down? 

7.  Describe  the  legs  and  feet.  How 
many  toes  are  there?  What  is  the  relative 
length  of  the  toes  and  how  are  they  con- 
nected? What  is  this  web  between  the 
toes  for?  Why  are  the  hind  legs  so  much 
larger  than  the  front  legs? 

8.  Will  a  toad  change  color  if  placed 
upon  different  colored  objects?  How  long 
does  it  take  it  to  do  this?  Of  what  advan- 
tage is  this  to  the  toad? 

9.  Where  does  the  toad  live?  When 
it  is  disturbed  how  does  it  act?  How  far 


can  it  jump?  If  very  frightened  does  it 
flatten  out  and  lie  still?  Why  is  this? 

10.  At  what  time  does  the  toad  come 
out  to  hunt  insects?  How  does  it  catch 
the  insect?  Does  it  swallow  an  earthworm 
head  or  tail  first?  When  swallowing  an 
earthworm  or  large  insect,  how  does  it 
use  its  hands?  How  does  it  act  when  swal- 
lowing a  large  mouthful? 

11.  How  does  the  toad  drink?  Where 
does  it  remain  during  the  day?  Describe 
how  it  burrows  into  the  earth. 

12.  What  happens  to  the  toad  in  the 
winter?  What  does  it  do  in  the  spring?  Is 
it  a  good  swimmer?  How  does  it  use  its 
legs  in  swimming? 

13.  How   does   the   toad   look   when 
croaking?   What  sort  of  noise  does   it 
make? 

14.  Describe  the  action  of  the  toad's 
throat  when  breathing.  Did  you  ever  see 
a  toad  shed  its  skin? 

15.  What  are  the  toad's  enemies?  How 
does  it  act  when  caught  by  a  snake?  Does 
it  make  any  noise?  Is  it  swallowed  head 
or  tail  first?  What  means  has  it  of  escap- 
ing or  defending  itself  from  its  enemies? 

16.  How  is  the  toad  of  great  use  to  the 
farmer  and  gardener? 

In  the  early  years  we  are  not  to  teach 
nature  as  science,  we  are  not  to  teach  it 
primarily  for  method  or  for  drill:  we  are 
to  teach  it  for  loving  —  and  this  is  nature- 
study.  On  these  points  I  make  no  com- 
promise. _L<  H>  BAILEY 


THE  SPRING  PEEPER  OR  PICKERING'S  HYLA 

Ere  yet  the  earliest  warbler  wakes,  of  coming  spring  to  tell, 

From  every  marsh  a  chorus  breaks,  a  choir  invisible, 

As  if  the  blossoms  underground,  a  breath  of  utterance  had  found.  —  TABB 


Associated  with  the  first  songs  of  robin 
and  bluebird,  is  the  equally  delightful 
chorus  of  the  spring  peepers,  yet  how  in- 
frequently do  most  of  us  see  a  member 
of  this  invisible  choir!  There  are  some 
creatures  which  are  the  quintessence  of 
the  slang  word  "  cute,"  which,  interpreted, 
means  the  perfection  of  Lilliputian  pro- 


portions, permeated  with  undaunted 
spirit.  The  chickadee  is  one  of  these,  and 
the  spring  peeper  is  another.  I  confess  to 
a  thrill  of  delight  when  the  Pickering's 
hyla  lifts  itself  on  its  tiny  front  feet,  twists 
its  head  knowingly,  and  turns  on  me  the 
full  gaze  of  its  bronze-rimmed  eyes.  This 
is  one  of  the  tiniest  f  roglets  of  them  all,  be- 


i78 


ANIMALS 


ing  little  more  than  an  inch  long  when 
fully  grown;  it  wears  the  Greek  cross  in 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

The  spring  peeper^  Hyla  crucifer.  Here  is 
shown  the  characteristic  St.  Andrew's  cross 
on  the  peeper's  back.  This  small  frog,  measur- 
ing %  inch  to  1%  inches  in  length  will  be 
found  from  Manitoba  to  Maine  and  south- 
ward 

darker  color  upon  its  back,  with  some 
stripes  across  its  long  hind  legs,  which  join 
the  pattern  on  the  back  when  the  frog 
is  "  shut  up/'  as  the  boys  say. 

The  reason  we  see  so  little  of  spring 
peepers  is  that  they  are  protected  from 
discovery  by  their  color.  They  have  the 
chameleon  power  of  changing  color  to 
match  their  background.  This  change  can 
be  effected  in  twenty  minutes;  the  darker 
lines  forming  the  cross  change  first,  giving 
a  mottled  appearance  which  is  at  once  pro- 
tective. I  have  taken  three  of  these  peep- 
ers, all  of  them  pale  yellowish  brown  with 
gray  markings,  and  have  placed  one  upon 
a  fern,  one  on  dark  soil,  and  one  on  the 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

The  note  of  the  male  spring  peeper  is  a 
shrill,  clear  call  and  while  it  is  being  given  his 
throat  expands  into  a  large  bubble 


purple  bud  of  a  flower.  Within  half  an 
hour,  each  matched  its  surroundings  so 
closely  that  the  casual  eye  would  not 
detect  them.  The  song  of  the  Pickering's 
hyla  is  a  resonant  chirp,  very  stirring  when 
heard  nearby;  it  sounds  somewhat  like  the 
note  of  a  water  bird.  How  such  a  small 
creature  can  make  such  a  loud  noise  is  a 
mystery.  The  process,  however,  may  be 
watched  at  night  by  the  light  of  a  flash- 
light or  lantern,  as  none  of  the  peepers 
seem  to  pay  any  attention  to  an  artificial 
light;  the  thin  membrane  beneath  the 
throat  swells  out  until  it  seems  almost 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


The  green  tree  frog}  Hyla  cinerea  cinerea. 
These  frogs,  1%  to  2%  inches  long  are  bright 
green  in  color  with  a  straw-colored  stripe 
along  each  side.  On  the  tips  of  their  toes  are 
discs  which  enable  them  to  cling  to  vertical 
surfaces.  The  green  tree  frogs  are  found  from 
Virginia  to  Texas  and  up  the  Mississippi 
River  to  Illinois 

large  enough  to  balloon  the  little  chap 
off  his  perch.  No  wonder  that,  with  such 
a  sounding-sac,  the  note  is  stirring. 

The  spring  peepers  have  toes  and  fingers 
ending  in  little  round  discs  which  secrete 
at  will  a  substance  by  means  of  which 
they  can  cling  to  vertical  surfaces,  even 
to  glass.  In  fact,  the  time  to  study  these 
wonderful  feet  is  when  the  frog  is  climb- 
ing up  the  sides  of  the  glass  jar.  The 
fingers  are  arranged  as  follows:  two  short 
inside  ones,  a  long  one,  and  another  short 


AMPHIBIANS 


179 


one  outside.  The  hind  feet  have  three 
shorter  inside  toes  quite  far  apart,  a  long 
one  at  the  tip  of  the  foot  and  a  shorter 
one  outside.  When  climbing  a  smooth 
surface  like  glass,  the  toes  are  spread  wide 
apart,  and  there  are  other  little  clinging 
discs  on  their  lower  sides,  although  not  so 
large  as  those  at  the  tips.  It  is  by  means  of 
these  sticky,  disclike  toes  that  the  animals 
hold  themselves  upon  the  tree  trunks  or 
other  upright  objects. 

The  whole  body  of  the  tree  frog,  a  rela- 
tive of  the  spring  peeper,  is  covered  with 
little  tubercles,  which  give  it  a  roughened 
appearance.  The  eyes  are  black  with  the 
iris  of  reddish  color.  The  tongue  is  like 
that  of  other  frogs,  hinged  to  the  front  of 
the  lower  jaw;  it  is  sticky  and  can  be 
thrust  far  out  to  capture  insects,  of  which 
the  tree  frogs  eat  vast  numbers. 

The  spring  peepers  breathe  by  the  rapid 
pulsation  of  the  membrane  of  the  throat, 
which  makes  the  whole  body  tremble. 
The  nostrils  are  two  tiny  holes  on  either 
side  of  the  tip  of  the  snout.  The  ears  are 
a  little  below  and  just  behind  the  eyes,  and 
are  in  the  form  of  circular  discs. 

The  eggs  of  the  spring  peepers  are  laid 
in  ponds  during  April;  each  egg  has  a  little 
globe  of  jelly  about  it  and  is  fastened  to 
a  stone  or  a  water  plant.  The  tadpoles  are 
small  and  delicate;  the  under  side  of  the 
body  is  reddish  and  shines  with  metallic 


. 

A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Common  tree  toad,  Hyla  versicolor  versi- 
color.  From  Maine  and  southern  Canada  to 
the  Gulf  states  is  the  range  of  these  tree 
toads;  their  habitat  is  trees,  logs,  or  stone 
fences.  The  color  varies  from  ashy  gray  to 
brown  or  green;  on  the  back  is  an  irregular 
dark  star.  The  eggs,  in  groups  of  thirty  to 
forty,  are  attached  to  vegetation  at  the  sur- 
face of  the  water 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Anderson  tree  jrog,  Hyla  andersonii.  This 
is  a  small,  beautiful,  green  frog  with  a  light- 
bordered,  plum-colored  band  along  each  side 
of  its  body.  It  lives  chiefly  in  white  cedar 
swamps  from  New  Jersey  to  South  Carolina 

luster.  These  tadpoles  differ  from  those  of 
other  frogs  in  that  they  often  leave  the 
water  while  the  tail  is  still  quite  long.  In 
summer,  they  may  be  found  among  the 
leaves  and  moss  around  the  banks  of 
ponds.  They  are  indefatigable  in  hunting 
for  gnats,  mosquitoes,  and  ants;  their  de- 
struction of  mosquitoes,  as  pollywogs  and 
as  grown  up  frogs,  renders  them  of  great 
use  to  us.  The  voice  of  this  peeper  may  be 
occasionally  heard  among  the  shrubs  and 
vines  or  in  trees  during  late  summer  and 
until  November.  The  little  creatures  sleep 
beneath  moss  and  leaves  during  the  win- 
ter, waking  to  give  us  the  earliest  news  of 
spring. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Frog  Book, 
by  Mary  C.  Dickerson;  Handbook  of 
Frogs  and  Toads,  by  Anna  A.  and  Albert 
H.  Wright;  Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fan- 
nie W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book 
3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  The  Pond  Book, 
by  Walter  P.  Porter  and  Einar  A.  Hansen; 
also,  readings  on  page  170. 

LESSON  46 

SPRING  PEEPER  OR  PICKERING'S  HYLA 
LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  prettiest  part 
of  the  spring  chorus  of  the  frog  ponds 
is  sung  by  the  spring  peepers.  These  little 
frogs  have  the  tips  of  their  toes  specially 
fitted  for  climbing  up  the  sides  of  trees. 

METHOD  —  Make  a  moss  garden  in  an 
aquarium  jar  or  a  two-quart  can.  Place 
stones  in  the  bottom  and  moss  at  one  side, 
leaving  a  place  on  the  other  side  for  a 


i8o 


ANIMALS 


tiny  pond  of  water.  In  this  garden  place 
a  spring  peeper,  cover  the  jar  with  mos- 
quito netting,  and  place  in  the  shade. 
The  frogs  may  be  found  by  searching  the 
banks  of  a  pond  at  night  with  a  lantern. 
However,  this  lesson  is  usually  given  when 
by  accident  the  spring  peeper  is  discov- 
ered. Any  species  of  tree  frog  will  do; 
but  the  Pickering's  hyla,  known  every- 
where as  the  spring  peeper,  is  the  most 
interesting  species  to  study. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  How  large  is  the 
peeper?  What  is  its  color?  Describe  the 
markings. 

2.  Place   the   peeper    on   some  light- 
colored   surface   like   a   piece   of   white 
blotting  paper.  Note  if  it  changes  color 
after  a  half  hour.  Later  place  it  upon  some 
dark  surface.  Note  if  it  changes  color  again. 
How  does  this  power  of  changing  color 
benefit  the  animal?  Place  a  peeper  on 
a  piece  of  bark.  After  a  time  does  it  be- 
come inconspicuous? 

3.  Describe  the  eyes.  Note  how  little 
the  creature  turns  its  head  to  see  any- 
thing behind  it.  Describe  its  actions  if  its 
attention  is  attracted  to  anything.  What 
color  is  the  pupil?  The  iris? 

4.  Note  the  movement  of  breathing. 
Where  does  this  show  the  most?  Exam- 


ine the  delicate  membrane  beneath  the 
throat.  What  has  this  to  do  with  the 
breathing? 

5.  What  is  the  peeper's  note?  At  what 
time  of  day  does  it  peep?  At  what  time 
of  year?  Describe  how  the  frog  looks  when 
peeping. 

6.  How  does  the  peeper  climb?  When  it 
is  climbing  up  a  vertical  surface  study  its 
toes.  How  many  on  the  front  foot?  How 
are  they  arranged?  How  many  toes  on  the 
hind  foot?  Sketch  the  front  and  hind  feet. 
How  do  the  toe-discs  look  when  pressed 
against  the  glass?  How  does  it  manage  to 
make  the  discs  cling  and  then  let  go?  Are 
there  any  more  discs  on  the  under  side 
of  the  toes?  Is  there  a  web  between  the 
toes  of  the  hind  feet?  Of  the  front  feet? 

7.  Look  at  a  peeper  very  closely  and 
describe  its  nostrils  and  its  ears. 

8.  Are    the    peepers    good    jumpers? 
What  is  the  size  and  length  of  the  hind 
legs  as  compared  with  the  body? 

9.  When  and  where  are  the  eggs  of  the 
peeper  laid?  How  do  they  look? 

10.  How  do  the  peeper  tadpoles  differ 
from  other  tadpoles?  Describe  them  if 
you  have  ever  seen  them.  In  what  situa- 
tions do  they  live? 

11.  Of  what  use  are  the  peepers  to  us? 


THE  FROG 


The  stroller  along  brooksides  is  likely 
to  be  surprised  some  day  at  seeing  a  bit 
of  moss  and  earth  suddenly  make  a  long, 
high  leap,  without  apparent  provocation. 
An  investigation  resolves  the  clump  of 
moss  into  a  brilliantly  green-spotted  frog 
with  two  light-yellow  raised  stripes  down 
his  back;  and  then  the  stroller  wonders 
how  he  could  have  overlooked  such  an 
obvious  creature.  But  the  leopard  frog  is 
only  obvious  when  it  is  out  of  its  environ- 
ment. The  common  green  frog  is  quite 
as  well  protected  since  its  color  is  exactly 
that  of  green  pools.  Most  frogs  spend 
their  lives  in  or  about  water,  and  if 
caught  on  land  they  make  great  leaps 
to  reach  their  native  element;  the  leopard 


frog  and  a  few  other  species,  however, 
sometimes  wander  far  afield. 

In  form,  the  frog  is  more  slim  than  the 
toad,  and  is  not  covered  with  great  warts; 
it  is  cold  and  slippery  to  the  touch.  The 
frog's  only  chance  of  escaping  its  enemies 
is  through  the  slipperiness  of  its  body  and 
by  making  long,  rapid  leaps.  As  a  jumper, 
the  frog  is  much  more  powerful  than  the 
toad  because  its  hind  legs  are  so  much 
larger  and  more  muscular,  in  comparison 
with  its  size.  The  first  toe  in  the  front 
foot  of  the  male  leopard  frog  is  much 
swollen,  making  a  fat  thumb;  the  me- 
chanics of  the  hind  legs  make  it  possible 
for  the  frog  to  feather  the  webbed  feet 
as  it  swims.  On  the  bottom  of  the  toes  are 


AMPHIBIANS 


181 


The  bullfrog,  Rana  catesbeiana.  This  is  our  largest  frog,  sometimes  attaining  a  length  of 
S  inches.  It  is  widely  distributed  east  of  the  Rocky  Mountains  from  Canada  to  Mexico.  The 
bullfrog  has  a  greenish  drab  back  and  a  yellowish  underside.  The  eggs  are  laid  in  a  film, 
perhaps  2  feet  square  on  the  surface  of  still  water.  Its  sonorous  bass  notes,  jug-o'-rum,  are 
heard  in  the  evenings  of  early  summer 


hardened  places  at  the  joints,  and  some- 
times others  besides,  which  give  the  foot 
a  strong  hold  when  pushing  for  the  jump. 
The  toe  tips,  when  they  are  pressed  against 
the  glass,  resemble  slightly  the  peepers7 
discs.  The  hind  foot  is  very  long,  while 
on  the  front  foot  the  toes  radiate  almost 
in  a  circle.  The  foot  and  leg  are  colored 
like  the  back  of  the  body  above,  and  on 
the  under  side  resemble  the  under  parts. 

The  frog  is  likely  to  be  much  more 
brightly  colored  than  the  toad,  and  usually 
has  much  of  green  and  yellow  in  its  dress. 
But  the  frog  lives  among  green  things, 
while  it  is  to  the  toad's  advantage  to  be 
the  color  of  the  soil.  Frogs  also  have  the 
chameleon  power  of  changing  color  to 
harmonize  with  their  environment.  I  have 
seen  a  very  green  leopard  frog  change  to 
a  slate-gray  when  placed  upon  slate-col- 
ored rock.  The  change  took  place  in  the 
green  portions.  The  common  green  frog 
will  likewise  change  to  slate-color,  in  a 
similar  situation.  A  leopard  frog  changed 
quickly  from  dark  green  to  pale  olive, 
when  it  was  placed  in  the  water  after  hav- 
ing been  on  the  soil. 

The  eyes  of  frogs  are  very  prominent, 


and  are  beautiful  when  observed  closely. 
The  green  frog  has  a  dark  bronze  iris  with 
a  gleaming  gold  edge  around  the  pupil, 
and  around  the  outer  margin.  The  eye  of 
the  leopard  frog  is  darker;  the  iris  seems  to 
be  black,  with  specks  of  ruddy  gold  scat- 
tered through  it,  and  there  is  an  outer 
band  of  red-gold  around  the  margin. 
When  the  frog  winks,  the  nictitating 
membrane  rises  from  below  and  covers 
the  whole  eye;  and  when  the  frog  makes 
a  special  effort  of  any  sort,  it  has  a  comical 
way  of  drawing  its  eyes  back  into  its  head. 
When  trying  to  hide  at  the  bottom  of 
the  aquarium,  the  leopard  species  lets  the 
eyelids  fall  over  the  eyes,  so  that  they  do 
not  shine  up  and  attract  pursuers. 

The  ear  is  in  a  similar  position  to  that 
of  the  toad,  and  in  the  bullfrog  is  larger 
than  the  eye.  In  the  green  frog,  it  is  a  dull 
grayish  disc,  almost  as  large  as  the  eye. 
In  the  leopard  frog,  it  is  not  so  large  as 
the  eye,  and  may  have  a  giltish  spot  at 
the  center. 

The  nostrils  are  small  and  are  closed 
when  below  the  water,  as  may  be  easily 
seen  by  a  lens.  The  mouth  opens  widely, 
the  corners  extending  back  under  the  eye. 


182 


ANIMALS 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


Male  green  frog,  Rana  clamitans.  These  in- 
habitants oj  deep  and  shallow  ponds  are 
found  in  eastern  North  America  from  Hudson 
Bay  to  the  Gulf.  In  the  North  they  are  among 
the  largest  frogs,  ranging  jrom  2  to  4  inches 
in  length.  The  jemale  is  shown  in  the  follow- 
ing picture 

The  jaws  are  horny  and  are  armed  with 
teeth,  which  are  for  the  purpose  of  bit- 
ing off  food  rather  than  for  chewing  it. 
When  above  water,  the  throat  keeps  up 
a  rhythmic  motion  which  is  the  process 
of  breathing;  but  when  below  water  this 
motion  ceases.  The  food  of  frogs  is  largely 
composed  of  insects  which  frequent  damp 
places  or  live  in  the  water. 

The  sound-sacs  of  the  leopard  frogs, 
instead  of  being  beneath  the  throat,  as 
is  the  case  with  toads  and  peepers,  are 
at  the  side  of  the  throat;  and  when  in- 
flated may  extend  from  just  back  of  the 
eyes,  out  above  the  front  legs  and  part 
way  down  the  sides.  The  song  is  char- 
acteristic, and  pleasant  to  listen  to,  if  not 
too  close  by.  Perhaps  exception  should  be 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Female  green  frog,  Rana  clamitans.  The 
color  of  these  frogs  in  general  is  greenish 
brown  with  a  bright  green  mark  from  the 
eardrum  forward  along  the  jaw.  Note  that 
the  eardrum  of  the  male  is  larger  than  that  of 
the  female 


made  to  the  lay  of  the  bullfrog,  which  like 
the  song  of  some  noted  opera  singers,  is 
more  wonderful  than  musical;  the  boom 
of  the  bullfrog  makes  the  earth  fairly 
quake.  If  we  seize  the  frog  by  the  hind 
leg,  it  will  usually  croak  and  thus  demon- 
strate for  us  the  position  of  its  sound-sacs. 
In  addition  to  the  snakes,  the  frogs  have 
inveterate  enemies  in  the  herons,  which 
frequent  shallow  water  and  eat  them  in 
great  numbers.  The  frogs  hibernate  in 
mud  and  about  ponds,  burrowing  deep 
enough  to  escape  freezing.  In  the  spring, 
they  come  up  and  sing  their  spring  songs 
and  the  mother  leopard  frogs  lay  their 
eggs  in  masses  of  jelly  on  the  bottom  of 
the  pond,  usually  where  the  water  is 


A.  A,  and  A.  H.  Wright 


Wood  frog}  Rana  sylvatica.  In  spring  these 
frogs  are  found  about  ponds  and  temporary 
pools  in  wooded  areas;  at  other  times  they 
are  in  the  woods.  They  even  hibernate  under 
stumps,  stones,  or  logs  in  or  near  woods. 
Their  color  varies  from  tan  to  brown,  a 
prominent  black  mask  covering  the  sides  of 
the  head.  They  range  from,  Quebec  and  Nova 
Scotia  south  to  the  Carolinas  and  westward 
to  the  plains 

deeper  than  in  the  situations  where  the 
toads'  eggs  are  laid.  The  eggs  of  the  two 
can  always  be  distinguished,  since  the 
toads'  are  laid  in  strings  of  jelly,  while  the 
leopard  frogs'  are  laid  in  masses.  The  bull- 
frog and  green  frog  lay  large  films  of  eggs 
on  the  surface  of  the  water. 

It  is  amusing  to  watch  with  a  lens  the 
frog  tadpoles  seeking  for  their  microscopic 
food  along  the  glass  of  the  aquarium. 
There  are  horny  upper  and  lower  jaws,  the 
latter  being  below  and  back  of  the  former. 
The  upper  jaw  moves  back  and  forth 
slightly  and  rhythmically,  but  the  drop- 
ping of  the  lower  jaw  opens  the  mouth. 
There  are  three  rows  of  tiny  black  teeth 


AMPHIBIANS 


below  the  mouth  and  one  row  above;  at 
the  sides  and  below  these  teeth  are  little, 
finger-like  fringes.  Fringes,  rows  of  teeth, 
and  jaws  all  work  together,  up  and  down, 
out  and  in,  in  the  process  of  breathing. 
The  nostrils,  although  minute,  are  present 
in  the  tadpole  in  its  early  stages.  The  pupil 
of  the  eye  is  almost  circular  and  the  iris 
is  usually  yellow  or  copper-bronze,  with 
black  mottling.  The  eyes  do  not  wink  or 
withdraw.  The  breathing-pore,  which  is 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


Southern  leopard  frog,  Rana  sphenoceph- 
ala.  The  home  of  this  frog  is  in  swamps,  over- 
flowed areas,  or  ponds  in  the  southeastern 
states  and  northward  along  the  coast  to  New 
Jersey.  The  pointed  snout,  glistening  white 
underside,  and  ridges  extending  backward 
from  each  eye  are  characteristic 

on  the  left  side,  is  a  hole  in  a  slight  pro- 
tuberance. 

At  first,  the  tadpoles  of  the  frogs  and 
toads  are  very  much  alike;  but  later  most 
of  the  frog  tadpoles  are  lighter  in  color, 
usually  being  olive-green,  mottled  with 
specks  of  black  and  white.  The  frog  tad- 
poles usually  remain  much  longer  than 
the  toads  in  the  tadpole  stage,  and  when 
finally  they  change  to  adults,  they  are  far 
larger  in  size  than  the  toads  are  when 
they  attain  their  jumping  legs. 

SUGGESTED  READING— Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  The  Frog  Book, 
by  Mary  C.  Dickerson;  Handbook  of 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Eggs  of  leopard  frog,  Rana  pipiens  pipiens. 
and  wood  frog,  Rana  sylvatica.  The  eggs  of 
the  leopard  frog  are  laid  in  a  flattened  sphere 
in  waters  of  swampy  marshes,  overflows,  and 
ponds.  In  summer,,  the  adults  are  found  in 
swampy  areas,  grassy  woodlands,  or  even  hay 
or  grain  fields.  They  range  from  the  Pacific 
coast  states  into  Mexico.  The  eggs  of  the  wood 
frog  are  laid  in  round  masses 

Frogs  and  Toads,  by  Anna  A.  and  Albert 
H.  Wright;  Holiday  Pond,  by  Edith  M. 
Patch;  Nature  and  Science  Readers,  by 
Edith  M.  Patch  and  Harrison  E.  Howe, 
Book  2,  Outdoor  Visits;  The  Pond  Book, 
by  Walter  P.  Porter  and  Einar  A.  Hansen; 
The  Story  of  Frogs,  by  Mary  B.  Herring 
(Unit  Study  Book,  No.  351);  also,  read- 
ings on  page  170. 

LESSON  47 
THE  FROG 

LEADING  THOUGHT —  The  frog  lives 
near  or  in  ponds  or  streams.  It  is  a  power- 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


Wright's  bullfrog,  Rana  heckscheri.  This  is 
a  transforming  tadpole.  Note  that  the  left 
front  leg  has  not  yet  pushed  through  the  skin. 
The  range  of  this  frog  is  from  South  Carolina 
to  Mississippi 


TAILLESS  AMPHIBIANS 


1  and  2.  AMERICAN  BELL  TOAD,  Ascaphus 
truei,  male  and  fern-ale.  The  size  of  this  toad 
is  \Y%  to  2  inches.  Note  that  the  male  is  tailed. 

Range:  Northern  California,  Oregon,  and 
Washington,  and  eastward  into  Montana. 
Habitat:  Usually  under  rocks  in  small,  cold 
mountain  streams;  in  rainy  seasons  they  may 
be  found  a  short  distance  away  from  the  water. 
They  seem  to  be  rather  solitary  in  habit. 

3  and  4.  OAK  TOAD,  Bufo  quercicus.  The 
adults  of  this  pigmy  toad  range  in  size  from 
*A  to  \Y±  inches.  Its  color  varies  from  light 
brown  to  almost  black.  Note  the  expanded 
vocal  sac  of  the  male  (No.  4);  when  deflated 
it  is  an  apron  fold  under  the  throat.  The  call 
is  a  high  whistle,  which  is  more  birdlike  than 
froglike.  A  chorus  of  calls  can  be  heard  for  more 
than  an  eighth  of  a  mile. 

Range:  North  Carolina  to  Florida,  west  to 
Louisiana.  Habitat:  Pine  barrens. 

5.  NARROW  MOUTH  TOAD,  Microhyla  caro- 
linensis.  The  size  of  these  dark,  smooth-skinned 
toads  ranges  from  %toiy5  inches.  The  voice  of 
the  males  resembles  the  bleating  of  sheep.  The 
eggs  are  laid  in  a  surface  film,  each  egg  being 
clearly  outlined. 

Range:  From  Virginia  to  Florida,  westward 
to  Texas.  Habitat:  In  moist  places  under 
virtually  any  kind  of  cover,  even  haycocks  and 
decaying  logs. 

6.  CANYON  or  SPOTTED  TOAD,  Bufo  puncta- 
tus.  This  toad  is  iy5  to  3  inches  in  size;  its 
color  varies  from  greenish  tan  to  red.  The  call 
is  high  pitched  and  birdlike.  The  eggs  are  laid 
singly  in  pools  of  intermittent  streams.  This 
toad  breeds  from  April  to  July. 

Range:  South  central  Texas  to  Lower  Cali- 
fornia and  California.  Habitat:  Desert  can- 
yons. 

7.  GREAT  PLAINS  TOAD,  Bufo   cognatus. 
These  large-bodied,  brown,   gray,  or  greenish 
toads  measure  from  1%  to  4  inches.  Their  call 
is  harsh  and  low  pitched.  The  vocal  sac  is  shaped 
like  a  sausage  stood  on  end. 


Range:  Mostly  west  of  the  10(M  meridian, 
from  North  Dakota  southwestward  to  Mexico 
and  eastern  California.  Habitat:  Grazing  lands 
in  flood  plains. 

8.  SPADEFOOT  TOAD,  Bufo  compactilis.  The 
size  of  this  desert  toad  is  2  to  3%  inches;  its 
color  is  pinkish  drab.  It  breeds  in  pools  or 
even  in  cattle  tanks.  Note  the  expanded  sausage- 
like  vocal  sac  of  this  male. 

Range:  Utah  and  Nevada  eastward  to  Ok- 
lahoma and  southward  into  Mexico.  Habitat: 
Deserts. 

9.  HAMMOND'S     SPADEFOOT,     Scaphiopus 
hammondii.  This  toad  ranges  from  1%  to  2% 
inches  in  size.  It  breeds  in  temporary  pools; 
the  tadpoles  eat  many  mosquitoes,  and  the  toads 
eat  many  tadpoles.  It  is  seldom  seen  above  ground 
except  during  rains  of  long  duration.  The  un- 
usual call  is  plaintive  and  catlike. 

Range:  From  North  Dakota  southward  to 
Mexico,  and  westward  to  the  Pacific  coast. 
Habitat:  Burrows,  which  it  digs  in  moist 
ground  with  its  strong,  spadelike  feet,  and  into 
which  it  pushes  itself  by  rocking  its  body. 

10.  CANADIAN  or  WINNIPEG  TOAD,  Bufo 
hemiophrys.  In  size  this  toad  ranges  from  2% 
to  3K  inches.  It  has  a  very  prominent  heavy, 
horny  boss  between  its  eyes  and  on  its  snout. 
It  may  breed  in  the  shallows  at  the  edges  of  any 
body  of  fresh  water. 

Range:  North  Dakota  to  Manitoba.  Habi- 
tat: Lakes  and  stream  valleys. 

11  and  12.  YOSEMITE  TOAD,  Bufo  canorus, 
male  and  female.  This  is  the  only  toad  in  the 
United  States  that  shows  marked  difference 
between  male  and  female.  The  male  (No.  11) 
is  olive-colored,  while  the  female  (No.  12)  is 
light  gray  with  many  black  areas.  Its  size  is 
from  2  to  3  inches. 

Range:  Yosemite  National  Park  and  cen- 
tral Sierra  Nevada  at  altitudes  of  1000  to 
1100  feet.  Habitat:  Wet  meadows  and  mar* 
gins  of  streams  and  lakes. 


Photographs  by  A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


•i86 


ANIMALS 


ful  jumper  and  has  a  slippery  body.  Its 
eggs  are  laid  in  masses  of  jelly  at  the  bot- 
tom of  ponds. 

METHOD  —  The  frog  may  be  studied  in 
its  native  situation  by  the  pupils  or  it 
may  be  brought  to  the  school  and  placed 
in  an  aquarium;  however,  to  make  a  frog 
aquarium  there  needs  to  be  a  stick  or 
stone  projecting  above  the  water,  for  the 
frog  likes  to  spend  part  of  the  time  en- 
tirely out  of  water  or  only  partially  sub- 
merged. 

OBSERVATIONS— i.  Where  is  the  frog 
found?  Does  it  live  all  its  life  in  the  water? 
When  found  on  land  how  and  where  does 
it  seek  to  escape? 

2.  Compare  the  form  of  the  frog  with 
that  of  the  toad.  Describe  the  frog's  skin, 
its  color  and  texture.  Compare  the  skins 
of  the  two. 

3.  Describe  the  colors  and  markings  of 
the  frog  on  the  upper  and  on  the  under 
side.  How  do  these  protect  it  from  obser- 
vation from  above?  From  below?  How  do 
we  usually  discover  that  we  are  in  the  vi- 
cinity of  a  frog? 

4.  Describe  the  frog's  ears,  eyes,  nos- 
trils, and  mouth. 

5.  Compare  its  "  hands  and  feet "  with 
those  of  the  toad.  Why  the  difference  in 
the  hind  legs  and  feet? 

6.  How  does  the  frog  feel  to  your  hand? 
Is  it  easy  to  hold  him?  How  does  this 
slipperiness  of  the  frog  benefit  it? 

7.  On  what  does  the  frog  feed?  What 
feeds  on  it?  How  does  it  escape  its  ene- 
mies? 

8.  What  sounds  does  the  frog  make? 
Where  are  the  sound-sacs  of  the  leopard 
frog  located?  How  do  they  look  when  they 
are  inflated? 

9.  Is  the  frog  a  good  swimmer?  Is  it 
a  better  jumper  than  the  toad?  Why? 

10.  Where  are  the  leopard  frog's  eggs 
laid?  How  do  they  look? 

11.  Can  you  tell  the  frog  tadpoles  from 
,  those  of  the  toad?  Which  remains  longer 

in  the  tadpole  stage?  Study  the  frog  tad- 
poles, following  the  questions  given  in  Les- 
son 44. 

12.  What   happens    to    the   frog   in 
winter? 


FESTINA  LENTE 


Once  on  a  time  there  was  a  pool 
Fringed  all  about  with  Rag-leaves  cool 
And  spotted  with  cow-lilies  garish, 
Of  frogs  and  pouts  the  ancient  parish. 
Aiders  the  creaking  redwings  sink  on, 
Tussocks  that  house  blithe  Bob  o'  Lin- 
coln, 

Hedged  round  the  unassailed  seclusion, 
Where  musfcrats  piled  their  cells  Carthu- 
sian; 

And  many  a  moss-embroidered  log, 
The  watering-place  of  summer  frog, 
Slept  and  decayed  with  patient  skill, 
As  watering-places  sometimes  will. 
Now  in  this  Abbey  of  Theleine, 
Which  realized  the  fairest  dream 
That  ever  dozing  bull-frog  had, 
Sunned,  on  a  half-sunk  lily  pad, 
There  rose  a  party  with  a  mission 
To  mend  the  polliwog's  condition, 
Who  notified  the  selectmen 
To  call  a  meeting  there  and  then. 
"Some  kind  of  steps,"  they  said,  "are 

needed; 

They  don't  corne  on  so  fast  as  we  did: 
Let's  dock  their  tails;  if  that  don't  make 

'em 

Frogs  by  brevet,  the  Old  One  take  'em/ 
That  boy,  that  came  the  other  day 
To  dig  some  flag-root  down  this  way, 
His  jack-knife  left,  and  'tis  a  sign 
That  Heaven  approves  of  our  design: 
'T  were  wicked  not  to  urge  the  step  on, 
When  Providence  has  sent  the  weapon." 
Old  croalcers,  deacons  of  the  mire, 
That  led  the  deep  batrachian  choir, 
"  Ukl  Uk!  Caronkl  "  with  bass  that  might 
Have  left  Lablache's  out  of  sight, 
Shook  nobby  heads,  and  said  "  No  go! 
You'd  better  let  'em  try  to  grow: 
Old  Doctor  Time  is  slow,  but  still 
He  does  know  bow  to  make  a  pill." 
But  vain  was  all  their  hoarsest  bass, 
Their  old  experience  out  of  place, 
And  spite  of  croaking  and  entreating 
The  vote  was  carried  in  marsh-meeting. 
"  Lord  knows,"  protest  the  polliwogs, 
"  We're  anxious  to  be  grown-up  frogs; 
But  don't  push  in  to  do  the  work 
Of  Nature  till  she  prove  a  shirk; 
'Tis  not  by  jumps  that  she  advances, 


AMPHIBIANS 


187 


But  wins  her  way  by  circumstances; 
Pray,  wait  awhile,  until  you  know 
We're  so  contrived  as  not  to  grow; 
Let  Nature  talce  her  own  direction, 
And  she'll  absorb  our  imperfection; 
You  mightn't  like  'em  to  appear  with, 
But  we  must  have  the  things  to  steer 

with." 

"  No,"  piped  the  party  of  reform, 
"  All  great  results  are  ta'en  by  storm; 
Fate  holds  her  best  gifts  till  we  show 
We've  strength  to  make  her  let  them  go; 
The  Providence  that  works  in  history, 
And  seems  to  some  folks  such  a  mystery. 
Does  not  creep  slowly  on,  incog., 
But  moves  by  jumps,  a  mighty  frog; 
No  more  reject  the  Age's  chrism, 
Your  queues  are  an  anachronism; 
No  more  the  future's  promise  mock, 
But  lay  your  tails  upon  the  block, 
Thankful  that  we  the  means  have  voted 


To  have  you  thus  to  frogs  promoted." 
The    thing   was    done,    the   tails    were 

cropped, 

And  home  each  philotadpole  hopped, 
In  faith  rewarded  to  exult, 
And  wait  the  beautiful  result. 
Too  soon  it  came;  our  pool,  so  long 
The  theme  of  patriot  bull-frog's  song, 
Next  day  was  reeking,  fit  to  smother, 
With  heads  and  tails  that  missed  each 

other,  — 

Here  snoutless  tails,  there  tailless  snouts; 
The  only  gainers  were  the  pouts. 

MORAL 

From  lower  to  the  higher  next, 
Not  to  the  top  is  Nature's  text; 
And  embryo  Good,  to  reach  full  stature, 
Absorbs  the  Evil  in  its  nature. 

•—  LOWELL 


THE  TAILED  AMPHIBIANS 


The  best-known  representatives  of  this 
group  are  the  salamanders  of  various  types. 
Barring  accidents,  a  salamander  retains  its 
tail  throughout  life.  Salamanders  resem- 
ble lizards  in  shape,  and  many  people 
have  incorrectly  called  them  lizards.  It 
is  not  difficult  to  distinguish  them,  if 
one  bears  in  mind  that  the  covering 
of  the  salamander  is  rather  soft  and 
somewhat  moist,  while  that  of  the 
lizard  is  rather  dry  and  in  the  form  of 
scales. 

The  red-backed  salamander  lacks  the 
amphibian  habits  usual  to  the  group;  it 
lives  on  land  during  its  entire  life.  The 
eggs  are  laid  in  a  small  cluster,  in  a  decay- 
ing log  or  stump;  the  adult  is  often  to  be 
found  quite  near  the  egg  cluster.  On  the 


other  extreme,  the  mud  puppies  and  hell- 
benders spend  their  entire  lives  in  the 
water.  They  are  rarely  seen,  live  chiefly 
under  rocks  in  stream  beds,  and  feed 
chiefly  at  night. 

The  many  local  forms  of  amphibians 
offer  excellent  opportunities  for  interest- 
ing outdoor  studies.  Of  the  tailed  am- 
phibians, the  newt  is  considered  in  detail, 
and  pictures  of  other  representative  sala- 
manders are  shown. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Backyard  Explo- 
ration, by  Paul  G.  Howes;  Nature— by 
Seaside  and  Wayside,  by  Mary  G.  Phil- 
lips and  Julia  M.  Wright,  Book  4,  Our 
Earth  and  Its  Life;  The  Pond  Book,  by 
Walter  P.  Porter  and  Einar  A.  Hansen: 
also,  readings  on  page  170. 


THE  NEWT  OR  EFT 

One  of  the  most  commonly  seen  sala-  or  woodland  paths,  and  since  they  are 

manders  is  the  newt  or  eft.  After  a  rain  rarely  seen  except  after  rain,  the  wise 

in  spring  or  summer,  we  see  these  little  people  of  old  declared  they  rained  down, 

orange-red  creatures  sprawling  along  roads  which  was  an  easy  way  of  explaining  their 


ANIMALS 


A  spotted  salamander  in  natural  surroundings 


presence.  But  the  newts  do  not  rain  down, 
they  rain  up  instead,  since  if  they  have 
journeys  to  make  they  must  needs  go  forth 
when  the  ground  is  damp;  otherwise  they 
would  dry  up  and  die.  Thus,  the  newts 
make  a  practice  of  not  going  out  except 
when  the  ground  is  rather  moist.  A  closer 
view  of  the  eft  shows  plenty  of  peculiari- 
ties in  its  appearance  to  interest  us.  Its 
colors  are  decidedly  gay,  the  body  color 
being  orange,  ornamented  with  vermilion 
dots  along  each  side  of  the  back,  each  red 
dot  being  usually  margined  with  tiny  black 
specks;  but  the  eft  is  careless  about  these 
decorations  and  may  have  more  spots  on 
one  side  than  on  the  other.  Besides  these 
vermilion  dots,  it  is  also  adorned  with 
black  specks  here  and  there,  and  espe- 
cially along  its  sides  looks  as  if  it  had  been 
peppered.  The  newt's  greatest  beauty  lies 
in  its  eyes;  these  are  black,  with  elongated 
pupils,  almost  parallel  with  the  length  of 
the  head,  and  bordered  above  and  below 
with  bands  of  golden,  shining  iris  which 
give  the  eyes  a  fascinating  brilliancy.  The 


nostrils  are  mere  pinholes  in  the  end  of 
the  snout. 

The  legs  and  feet  look  queerly  inade- 
quate for  such  a  long  body,  since  they 
are  short  and  far  apart.  There  are  four 
toes  on  the  front  feet  and  five  on  the 
hind  feet,  the  latter  being  decidedly 
pudgy.  The  legs  are  thinner  where  they 
join  the  body  and  wider  toward  the  feet. 
The  eft  can  move  very  rapidly  with  its 
scant  equipment  of  legs.  It  has  a  mis- 
leading way  of  remaining  motionless  for 
a  long  time  and  then  darting  forward  like 
a  flash,  its  long  body  falling  into  graceful 
curves  as  it  moves.  But  it  can  go  very 
slowly  when  exploring;  it  then  places  its 
little  hands  cautiously  and  lifts  its  head  as 
high  as  its  short  arms  will  allow,  in  order 
to  take  observations.  Although  it  can  see 
quite  well,  yet  on  an  unusual  surface,  like 
glass,  it  seems  to  feel  the  way  by  touch- 
ing its  lower  lip  to  the  surface  as  if  to  test 
it.  The  tail  is  flattened  at  the  sides  and 
is  used  to  twine  around  objects  in  time  of 
need;  and  I  ara  sure  it  is  also  used  to 


AMPHIBIANS 


189 


push  the  eft  while  crawling,  for  it  curves 
this  way  and  that  vigorously,  as  the  feet 
progress,  and  obviously  pushes  against  the 
ground.  Then,  too,  the  tail  is  an  aid  when, 
by  some  chance,  the  eft  is  turned  over  on 
its  back,  for  with  its  help  it  can  right  itself 
speedily.  The  eft's  method  of  walking  is 
interesting;  it  moves  forward  one  front 
foot  and  then  the  hind  foot  on  the  other 
side;  after  a  stop  for  rest,  it  begins  just 
where  it  left  off  when  it  again  starts  on. 
Its  beautiful  eyes  seem  to  serve  the  newt 
well  indeed,  for  I  find  that,  when  it  sees 
my  face  approaching  the  moss  jar,  it 
climbs  promptly  over  to  the  other  side. 
There  are  no  eyelids  for  the  golden  eyes, 
but  the  eft  can  pull  them  back  into  its 
head  and  close  the  slit  after  them,  thus 
making  them  very  safe. 

The  eft  with  whose  acquaintance  I  was 
most  favored  was  not  yet  mature  and  was 
afraid  of  earthworms;  but  he  was  very  fond 
of  plant  lice  and  it  was  fun  to  see  the 
little  creature  stalking  them.  A  big  rose 
plant  louse  would  be  squirming  with  satis- 
faction as  it  sucked  the  juice  of  the  leaf, 
when  the  eft  would  catch  sight  of  it  and 
become  greatly  excited,  evidently  holding 
his  breath,  since  the  pulsating  throat 
would  become  rigid.  There  was  a  particu- 
larly alert  attitude  of  the  whole  front  part 
of  the  body  and  especially  of  the  eyes  and 
the  head;  then  the  neck  would  stretch 
out  long  and  thin,  and  the  orange  snout 
approach  stealthily  to  within  half  an  inch 
of  the  smug  aphid.  Then  there  would  be  a 
flash  as  of  lightning,  something  too  swift 
to  see  coming  out  of  the  eft's  mouth  and 
swooping  up  the  unsuspecting  louse.  Then 


Red-spotted  newt  stalking  plant  lice 


S.  C.  Bishop 

Giant  or  California  newt,  Triturus  torosus. 
About  ponds  and  streams  from-  lower  Cali- 
jornia  to  Alaska  this  newt  may  be  seen;  its 
body  is  stout  and  is  about  six  inches  long 

there  would  be  a  gulp  or  two  and  all 
would  be  over.  If  the  aphid  happened  to 
be  a  big  one,  the  eft  made  visible  effort 
to  swallow  it.  Sometimes  his  ef tship  would 
become  greatly  excited  when  he  first  saw 
the  plant  louse,  and  he  would  sneeze  and 
snort  in  a  very  comical  way,  like  a  dog 
eager  for  game. 

This  is  the  history  of  this  species  as 
summarized    from    Mrs.    S.    H.   Gage's 
charming  Story  of  Little  Red  Spot.  The 
egg  is  laid  in  some  fresh-water  pond  or  the 
still  borders  of  some  stream  where  there 
is  a  growth  of  water  weed.  The  egg,  which 
is  about  the  size  of  a  sweet  pea  seed,  is  fas- 
tened to  a  water  plant.  It  is  covered  with  a 
tough  but  translucent  envelope,  and  has 
at  the  center  a  little  yellowish  globule.  In 
a  little  less  than  a  month  the  eft  hatches, 
but  it  looks  very  different  from  the  form 
with  which  we  are  most  familiar.  It  has 
gray  stripes  upon  its  sides  and  three  tiny 
bunches  of  red  gills  on  each  side,  just 
back  of  its  broad  head.  The  keeled  tail 
is  long  and  very  thin.  The  newt  is  an  ex- 
pert swimmer  and  breathes  water  as  does 
a  fish.  After  a  time  it  becomes  greenish 
above  and  buff  below,  and  by  the  middle 
of  August  it  develops  legs  and  has  changed 
its  form  so  that  it  is  able  to  live  upon 
land;  it  no  longer  has  gills;  soon  the  coat 
changes  to  the  bright  orange  hue  which 
makes  the  little  creature  so  conspicuous. 
The  newt  usually  keeps  hidden  among 
moss,   or  under  leaves,   or  in   decaying 
wood,  or  in  other  damp  and  shady  places; 
but  after  a  rain,  when  the  whole  world  is 
damp,  it  feels  confidence  enough  to  go  out 
in  the  open  and  hunt  for  food.  For  about 
two  and  a  half  years  it  lives  upon  land; 
then  it  returns  to  the  water.  When  this 


TAILED  AMPHIBIANS- 


1  and  2.  SPOTTED  SALAMANDER,  Ambystoma 
maculatum.  The  adults  are  6  inches  long  or 
more;  the  body  is  glistening  black  with  prom- 
inent yellow  spots.  These,  like  other  salamanders, 
are  entirely  harmless;  they  neither  bite  nor 
scratch.  Their  egg-masses  are  deposited  during 
early  spring,  while  the  water  is  still  very  cold,  in 
swampy  areas  or  stagnant  pools,  and  are  often 
attached  to  sticks  or  to  submerged  parts  of  plants. 
While  the  eggs  are  developing,  a  greenish  color, 
caused  by  the  presence  of  numerous  algae, 
appears  in  the  gelatin  of  the  egg-mass.  This 
seems  to  be  peculiar  to  the  egg-mass  of  this  sala- 
mander, and  biologists  are  trying  to  learn  the 
reason  for  it. 

Range:  Locally  in  central  North  America 
from  Wisconsin  and  Nova  Scotia  southward. 
Habitat:  Damp  dark  places  during  most  of 
the  year.  In  spring  they  migrate  to  ponds  to 
breed. 

3.  RED  SALAMANDER,  Pseudotriton  ruber. 
Adults  are  about  6  inches  long;  young  adults 
are  coral  red  with  irregular  black  spots;  older 
adults  are  somewhat  purplish  brown;  the  eggs, 
laid  in  autumn,  are  attached  to  the  underside 
of  a  stone  in  a  stream. 

Range:  Locally  from  New  York  to  Georgia, 
westward  to  the  Mississippi  River.  Habitat: 
Under  flat  stones  in  shallow  water. 

4.  MARBLED     SALAMANDER,     Ambystoma 
opacum.  Adults  are  about  5  inches  long,  bluish 
beneath  and  slaty  gray  on  the  back,  with  about 
14  grayish-white  bars.  The  creature  is  not  likely 
to  be  mistaken  for  any  other  large  salamander 
found  within  its  range,  because  the  others  are 
marked  with  yellow. 

Range:  Eastern  and  central  North  America. 
Habitat:  Under  flat  stones  or  in  burrows  in 
the  soil. 


5.  MUD  PUPPY,  Necturus  rnaculosus.  This         Range:  The  central  portion  of  the  Missis- 
animal,  which  looks  like  a  huge  salamander,      sippi  drainage  basin.  Habitat:  Caves. 

Photographs,  except  Figure  2,  by  S.  C.  Bishop;  Figure  2  by  Charles  E.  Mohr 


has  no  scales,  and  its  body  is  shiny.  It  does 
not  come  out  on  land, 

Range:  Eastern  and  central  United  States. 
Habitat:  Rivers  and  lakes. 

6.  TIGER    SALAMANDER,    Ambystoma    ti- 
grinum.  This  is  a  large,  dark  brown,  yellow-* 
splotched  salamander.   The  young,  which  are 
called  Axolotl,  may  even  breed  while  still  re- 
taining their  external  gills  and  living  in  the 
water. 

Range:  The  United  States  east  of  the  Cas- 
cades. 

7.  SLIMY  SALAMANDER,  Plethodon  glutino- 
sus.  Adults  are  about  5  to  6  inches  long.  The 
body,  which  is  very  sticky,  has  a  ground  color  of 
black;  the  speckles  vary  from  white  to  gray  or 
even  silver.  The  belly  has  a  dull  lead  color  which 
may  or  may  not  be  flecked  with  white. 

Range:  New  York  to  Wisconsin,  south  to 
Florida  and  Texas. 

8.  SLENDER    SALAMANDER,    Batrachoseps 
attenuatus.   The  body  of  this  salamander  is 
slender,  the  legs  are  small  and  weak,  and  the 
tail  is  long.  The  color  in  general  is  brown,  but 
slightly  lighter  on  the  back  than  on  the  belly 
and  sides. 

Range:  The  Pacific  slope  from  southwestern 
Oregon  to  California. 

9.  CAVE  SALAMANDER,  Typhlotriton  spe- 
Iseus.   This  inconspicuous  salamander  has  a 
uniformly   pale  —  almost   while  —  body.    The 
eyes  are  rudimentary  and  are  somewhat  con- 
cealed by  the  skin. 

Range:  The  Ozark  plateau  region  of  Arkan- 
sas, Kansas,  and  Missouri.  Habitat:  Caves. 

10.  CAVE  SALAMANDER,  Eurycea  lucifuga. 
The  back  of  this  salamander  is  vermilion  or 
orange,  with  irregular  dark  brown  or  black 


192 


ANIMALS 


impulse  comes  upon  it,  it  may  be  far 
from  any  stream;  but  it  seems  to  know 
instinctively  where  to  go.  After  it  enters 
the  water,  it  is  again  transformed  in  color, 
becoming  olive-green  above  and  buff  be- 
low, although  it  still  retains  the  red  spots 


i?    it 

Anna  Stryke 

Early  stage  of  vermilion-spotted  newt.  Eggs 
of  newt  attached  to  water  plant 

along  the  back;  and  it  also  retains  its  pep- 
per-like dots.  Its  tail  develops  a  keel  which 
extends  along  its  back  and  is  somewhat 
ruffled. 

The  male  has  the  hind  legs  very  large 
and  flat;  the  lighter-colored  female  has 
more  delicate  and  smaller  legs.  It  is  here 
in  the  water  that  the  efts  find  their  mates 
and  finish  careers  which  must  surely  have 
been  hazardous.  During  its  long  and  var- 
ied life,  the  eft  often  sheds  its  skin  like 
the  snake;  it  has  a  strange  habit  of  swal- 
lowing its  cast-off  coat. 

SUGGESTED  READING— Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  also,  readings  on 
pages  170  and  185. 


LESSON  48 

THE  NEWT  OR  EFT 

LEADING  THOUGHT— -The  newts  are 
born  in  the  water  and  at  first  have  gills. 
Later  they  live  on  land  and  have  lungs 
for  breathing  air;  then  they  go  back  to  the 
water  and  again  develop  the  power  of 
breathing  the  oxygen  contained  in  water; 
they  also  develop  a  keeled  tail. 

METHOD  —  The  little,  orange  eft  or  red- 


spotted  salamander  may  be  kept  in  an 
aquarium  which  has  in  it  an  object,  such 
as  a  stone  or  a  clump  of  moss,  which  pro- 
jects above  the  water.  For  food  it  should 
be  given  small  earthworms  or  leaves  cov- 
ered with  plant  lice.  In  this  way  it  may  be 
studied  at  leisure. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Look  at  the  eft 
closely.  Is  it  all  the  same  color?  How  many 
spots  upon  its  back  and  what  colors  are 
they?  Are  there  the  same  number  of  spots 
on  both  sides?  Are  there  any  spots  or  idots 
besides  these  larger  ones?  How  does  the 
eft  resemble  a  toad? 

2.  Is  the  head  the  widest  part  of  the 
body?  Describe  the  eyes,  the  shape  and 
color  of  the  pupil  and  of  the  iris.  How 
does  the  eft  wink?  Do  you  think  it  can 
see  well? 

3.  Can  you  see  the  nostrils?  How  does 
the  throat  move  and  why? 

4.  Are  both  pairs  of  legs  the  same  size? 
How  many  toes  on  the  front  feet?  How 
many  toes  on  the  hind  feet?  Does  the  eft 
toe  in  with  its  front  feet  like  a  toad? 

5.  Does  it  move  more  than  one  foot 
at  a  time  when  walking?  Does  it  use  the 
feet  on  the  same  side  in  two  consecutive 
steps?  After  it  puts   forward  the  right 
front  foot  what  foot  follows  next?  Can  it 
move  backward? 

6.  Is  the  tail  as  long  as  the  head  and 
body  together?  Is  the  tail  round  or  flat  at 
the  sides?  How  is  it  used  to  help  the  eft 
when  traveling?  Does  the  tail  drag  or  is  it 
lifted,  or  does  it  push  by  squirming? 

7.  How  does  the  eft  act  when  startled? 
Does  it  examine  its  surroundings?  Do  you 
think  it  can  see  and  is  afraid  of  you? 

8.  Why  do  we  find  more  of  these  crea- 
tures during  wet  weather?  Why  do  people 
think  they  rain  down? 

9.  What  does  the  eft  eat?  How  does 
it  catch  its  prey?  Does  it  shed  its  skin? 
How  many  kinds  of  efts  have  you  seen? 

10.  From  what  kind  of  egg  does  the 
eft  hatch?  When  is  this  egg  laid?  How 
does  it  look?  On  what  is  it  fastened? 


REPTILES 


Yet  when  a  child  and  barefoot,  I  more  than  once,  at  morn, 
Have  passed,  I  thought,  a  whiplash  imbraided  in  the  sun? 
When,  stooping  to  secure  it,  it  wrinkled,  and  was  gone. 

—  EMILY  DICKINSON 


The  animals  in  the  reptile  group  have  a 
covering  of  bony  plates  or  scales.  These 
animals  vary  greatly  in  size  and  shape  and 
include  such  forms  as  snakes,  lizards,  tur- 
tles, crocodiles,  and  alligators.  They  make 
their  homes  in  a  great  variety  of  places; 
the  alligators,  the  crocodiles,  and  some  of 
the  snakes  and  turtles  live  in  or  near  water, 
while  many  of  the  snakes  and  lizards  are 
quite  at  home  in  desert  regions. 

If  the  teacher  could  bring  herself  to 
take  as  much  interest  as  did  Mother  Eve 
in  that  "  subtile  animal/7  as  the  Bible 
calls  the  serpent,  she  might,  through  such 
interest,  enter  the  paradise  of  the  boyish 
heart  instead  of  losing  a  paradise  of  her 
own.  How  many  teachers,  who  have  an 
aversion  for  snakes,  are  obliged  to  teach 
small  boys  whose  pet  diversion  is  cap- 
turing these  living  ribbons  and  bringing 
them  into  the  schoolroom  stowed  away 
not  too  securely  in  pockets!  In  one  of  the 
suburban  Brooklyn  schools,  boys  of  this 
stripe  sought  to  frighten  their  teacher  with 
their  weird  prisoners.  But  she  was  equal 
to  the  occasion,  and  surprised  them  by  de- 
claring that  there  were  many  interesting 
things  to  be  studied  about  snakes,  and 
forthwith  sent  to  the  library  for  books 
which  discussed  these  reptiles;  and  this 
was  the  beginning  of  a  nature-study  club 
of  rare  efficiency  and  enterprise. 

There  are  abroad  in  the  land  many 
erroneous  beliefs  concerning  snakes.  Most 
people  believe  that  they  are  all  venomous, 
which  is  far  from  true.  The  rattlesnake 
still  holds  its  own  in  rocky,  mountainous 
places,  and  the  moccasin  haunts  the  bay- 
ous of  the  southern  coast;  however,  in 
most  localities,  snakes  are  not  only  harm- 
less but  are  beneficial  to  the  farmer.  The 
superstition  that  if  a  snake  is  killed,  its 


tail  will  live  until  sundown  is  general 
and  has  but  slender  foundation  in  the  fact 
that  with  snakes,  which  are  lower  in  their 
nerve-organization  than  mammals,  the 
process  of  death  is  a  slow  one.  Some  peo- 
ple firmly  believe  that  snakes  spring  or 
jump  from  the  ground  to  seize  their  prey, 
which  is  quite  false  since  no  snake  jumps 
clear  of  the  ground  as  it  strikes,  nor  does 
it  spring  from  a  perfect  coil.  Nor  are 


F.  Harper 

Alligator,  Alligator  mississippiensis.  Alli- 
gators may  reach  a  length  of  twelve  feet;  they 
live  in  or  about  rivers  and  swamps  of  tropical 
and  sub-tropical  regions.  Their  food  consists 
chiefly  of  fish,  mammals,  and  waterfowl.  They 
are  unique  among  reptiles  in  being  able  to 
produce  a  loud  bellowing  noise.  In  the  past, 
alligators  have  been  ruthlessly  slaughtered 
and  even  now  need  more  protection 

snakes  slimy;  on  the  contrary,  they  are 
covered  with  perfectly  dry  scales.  But  the 
most  general  superstition  of  all  is  that  a 
snake's  thrusting  out  its  tongue  is  an  act 
of  animosity;  the  fact  is,  the  tongue  is  a 
sense  organ  and  is  used  as  an  insect  uses  its 
feelers  or  antennae,  and  the  act  is  also 
supposed  to  aid  the  creature  in  hearing; 
thus  when  a  snake  thrusts  out  its  tongue, 
it  is  simply  trying  to  find  out  about  its 
surroundings  and  what  is  going  on. 

Snakes  are  the  only  creatures  able  to 
swallow  objects  larger  than  themselves. 


ANIMALS 


F.  Harper  .and  A.  A.  Wright 

Alligator  eggs.  More  than  30  eggs  may  be 
laid  by  one  jemale  alligator;  they  are  placed 
above  water  level  in  a  nest  of  swamp  vegeta- 
tion. When  hatching,  the  young  alligators  are 
about  8  inches  long.  Turtle  eggs,  often-  laid  in 
the  same  pile  of  vegetation,  are  shown  in  the 
foreground 

This  is  rendered  possible  by  the  elasticity 
of  the  body  walls,  and  by  the  fact  that 
snakes  have  an  extra  bone  hinging  the 
upper  to  the  lower  jaw,  allowing  them  to 
spread  widely;  the  lower  jaw  also  separates 
at  the  middle  of  its  front  edge  and  spreads 
apart  sidewise.  In  order  to  force  a  creature 
into  a  "  bag  "  so  manifestly  too  small,  a 
special  mechanism  is  needed;  the  teeth 
supply  this  by  pointing  backward,  and 
thus  assisting  in  the  swallowing.  The 
snake  moves  by  literally  walking  on  the 
ends  of  its  ribs,  which  are  connected  with 
the  crosswise  plates  on  its  lower  side;  each 
of  these  crosswise  plates  has  the  hind  edge 
projecting  down  so  that  it  can  hold  to  an 
object.  Thus,  the  graceful,  noiseless  prog- 
ress of  the  snake  is  brought  about  by 
many  of  these  crosswise  plates  worked 
by  the  movement  of  the  ribs. 


Some  species  of  snakes  simply  chase 
their  prey,  striking  at  it  and  catching  it 
in  the  open  mouth,  while  others,  like  the 
pilot  black  snake,  wind  themselves  about 
their  victims  and  crush  them  to  death. 
Snakes  can  live  a  long  time  without  food; 
many  instances  on  record  show  that  they 
have  been  able  to  exist  a  year  or  more 
without  anything  to  eat.  In  our  northern 
climate  they  hibernate  in  winter,  going 
to  sleep  as  soon  as  the  weather  becomes 
cold  and  not  waking  up  until  spring.  As 
snakes  grow,  they  shed  their  skins;  this 
occurs  only  two  or  three  times  a  year. 
The  crested  flycatcher  adorns  its  nest  with 
these  phantom  snakes. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  Nature's 
Trails,  by  Lillian  C.  Athey;  Animals  in  the 
Sun,  by  William  W.  Robinson;  Back- 
yard Exploration,  by  Paul  G.  Howes; 
Desert  Neighbors,  by  Edith  M.  Patch  and 
Carroll  L.  Fenton;  Nature  — by  Seaside 
and  Wayside,  by  Mary  G.  Phillips  and 
Julia  M.  Wright,  Book  4,  Our  Earth  and 
Its  Life;  Our  Great  Outdoors,  Reptiles, 
Amphibians  and  Fishes,  by  C.  W.  G. 
Eifrig;  Out-of-Doors  —  A  Guide  to  Na- 
ture, by  Paul  B.  Mann  and  George  T. 
Hastings;  The  Pond  Book,  and  Fields 
and  Fencerows,  both  by  Walter  P.  Porter 
and  Einar  A.  Hansen;  Reptiles  and  Am- 
phibians, Tli err  Habits  and  Adaptations, 
by  Thomas  Barbour;  Reptiles  of  North 
America,  Snakes  of  the  World,  Reptiles 
of  the  World,  The  Book  of  Living  Rep- 
tiles, all  by  Raymond  L.  Ditmars;  Snakes 
Alive  and  How  They  Live,  by  Clifford  H. 
Pope;  The  Stir  of  Nature,  by  William 
H.  Carr;  see  also  Bibliography. 


THE  GARTER  OR  GARDEN  SNAKE 

A  chipmunk,  or  a  sudden-whirring  quail, 

Is  startled  by  my  step  as  on  I  fare. 
A  gartersnafee  across  the  dusty  trail, 
Glances  and  —  is  not  there. 

—  RILEY 


Garter  snakes  can  be  easily  tamed,  and 
are  ready  to  meet  friendly  advances  half 
way.  A  handsome  yellow-striped,  black 


garter  lived  for  four  years  beneath  our 
porch  and  was  very  friendly  and  unafraid 
of  the  family.  The  children  of  the  campus 


REPTILES 


Garter  snakes 


made  it  frequent  visits.,  and  never  seemed 
to  be  weary  of  watching  it;  but  the  birds 
objected  to  it  very  much,  although  it 
never  attempted  to  reach  their  nests  in 
the  vine  above.  The  garter  snakes  are  the 
most  common  of  all,  in  our  northeastern 
states.  They  vary  much  in  color;  the 
ground  color  may  be  olive,  brown,  or 
black,  and  down  the  center  of  the  back 
is  usually  a  yellow,  green,  or  whitish  stripe, 
usually  bordered  by  a  darker  band  of 
ground-color.  On  each  side  is  a  similar 
stripe,  but  not  so  brightly  colored;  some- 
times the  middle  stripe  and  sometimes 
the  side  stripes  are  broken  into  spots  or 
absent;  the  lower  side  is  greenish  white  or 
yellow.  When  fully  grown  this  snake  is 
two  to  two  and  one-half  feet  in  length. 

The  garters  are  likely  to  congregate  in 
numbers  in  places  favorable  for  hiberna- 
tion, like  rocky  ledges  or  stony  sidehills. 
Here  each  snake  finds  a  safe  crevice,  or 
makes  a  burrow  which  sometimes  extends 
a  yard  or  more  underground.  During  the 
warm  days  of  Indian  summer,  these  winter 


hermits  crawl  out  in  the  middle  of  the 
day  and  sun  themselves,  retiring  again  to 
their  hermitages  when  the  air  grows  chilly 
toward  night;  and  when  the  cold  weather 
arrives,  they  go  to  sleep  and  do  not  awaken 
until  the  first  warm  days  of  spring;  then, 
if  the  sun  shines  hot,  they  crawl  out  and 
bask  in  its  welcome  rays. 

After  the  warm  weather  comes,  the 
snakes  scatter  to  other  localities  more  fa- 
vorable for  finding  food,  and  thus  these 
hibernating  places  are  deserted  during  the 
summer.  The  banks  of  streams  and  the 
edges  of  woods  are  places  which  furnish 
snakes  their  food,  which  consists  of  earth- 
worms, insects,  toads,  salamanders,  frogs, 
etc.  The  young  are  born  from  late  July 
to  mid  September  and  are  about  six  inches 
long  at  birth;  one  mother  may  have  in  her 
brood  from  eleven  to  fifty  snakelings;  she 
often  stays  with  them  only  a  few  hours. 
There  are  many  stories  about  the  way 
the  young  ones  run  down  the  mother's 
throat  in  case  of  attack;  but  as  yet  no 
scientist  has  seen  this  act  or  placed  it 


ANIMALS 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Common  garter  snake 
Thamnophis  sirtalis  sirtalis 

on  record.  The  little  snakes  shift  for  their 
own  food,  catching  small  toads,  earth- 
worms, and  insects.  If  it  finds  food  in 
plenty,  the  garter  snake  will  mature  in 
one  year.  Hawks,  crows,  skunks,  weasels, 
and  other  predacious  animals  seem  to  find 
the  garter  snake  attractive  food. 

SUGGESTED  READING  -—  Holiday  Hill,  by 
Edith  M.  Patch;  also,  readings  on  page 
194. 


LESSON  49 
THE  GARTER  OR  GARDEN  SNAKE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  garter  snake 
is  a  common  and  harmless  little  creature 
and  has  many  interesting  habits  which  are 
worth  studying. 

METHOD  —  A  garter  snake  may  be  cap- 
tured and  placed  in  a  box  with  a  glass 
cover  and  thus  studied  in  detail  in  the 
schoolroom,  but  the  lesson  should  begin 
with  observations  made  by  the  children 
on  the  snakes  in  their  native  haunts. 

OBSERVATIONS  — - 1 .  What  are  the  col- 
ors and  markings  of  your  garter  snake? 
Do  the  stripes  extend  along  the  head  as 
well  as  the  body?  How  long  is  it? 

2.  Describe  its  eyes,  its  ears,  its  nostrils, 
and  its  mouth. 

3.  If  you  disturb  it  how  does  it  act? 
Why  does  it  thrust  its  tongue  out?  What 
shape  is  its  tongue? 

4.  In  what  position  is  the  snake  when 


it  rests?  Can  you  see  how  it  moves?  Look 
upon  the  lower  side.  Can  you  see  the  little 
plates  extending  crosswise?  Do  you  think 
it  moves  by  moving  these  plates?  Let  it 
crawl  across  your  hand,  and  see  if  you  can 
tell  how  it  moves. 

5.  What  does  the  garter  snake  eat?  Did 
you  ever  see  one  swallow  a  toad?  A  frog? 
Did  it  take  it  head  first  or  tail  first? 

6.  Where  does  the   garter  spend  the 
winter?  How  early  does  it  appear  in  the 
spring? 

7.  At  what  time  of  year  do  you  see 
the  young  snakes?  Do  the  young  ones 
run  down  the  throat  of  the  mother  for 
safety  when  attacked?  Does  the  mother 
snake  defend  her  young? 

8.  What  enemies  has  the  garter  snake? 


No  life  in  earth  or  air  or  s£y; 

The  sunbeams,  broken  silently, 

On  the  bared  rocks  around  me  lie,  — 

Cold   roclcs  with  half   warmed   lichens 

scarred, 

And  scales  of  moss;  and  scarce  a  yard 
Away,  one  long  strip,  yellow-barred. 

Lost  in  a  cleft!  Tis  but  a  stride 
To  reach  it,  thrust  its  roots  aside, 
And  lift  it  on  thy  stick  astride! 

Yet  stay!  That  moment  is  thy  grace! 
For  round  thee,  thrilling  air  and  space, 
A  chattering  terror  fills  the  place! 

A  sound  as  of  dry  bones  that  stir, 
In  the  dead  valley!  By  yon  fir 
The  locust  stops  its  noon-day  whir! 

The  wild  bird  hears;  smote  with  the  sound, 

As  if  by  bullet  brought  to  ground 

On  broken  wing,  dips,  wheeling  round! 

The  hare,  transfixed,  with  trembling  lip, 
Halts  breathless,  on  pulsating  hip, 
And  palsied  tread,  and  heels  that  slip. 

Enough,  old  friend!  —  'tis  thou.  Forget 
My  heedless  foot,  nor  longer  fret 
The  peace  with  thy  grim  castanet! 
From  "  CROTALTJS 

(THE  RATTLESNAKE)/' 
BRET  HARTE 


REPTILES 


197 


THE  MILK  SNAKE  OR  SPOTTED  ADDER 

The  grass  divides  as  with  a  comb,,  a  spotted  shaft  is  seen, 
And  then  it  closes  at  your  feet,  and  opens  farther  on. 

—  EMILY  DICKINSON 


This  is  the  snake  which  Is  said  to  milk 
cows,  a  most  absurd  belief;  it  would  not 
milk  a  cow  if  it  could,  and  it  could  not  if 
it  would.  It  has  never  yet  been  induced 
to  drink  milk  when  in  captivity;  and  if  it 
were  very  thirsty,  it  could  not  drink  more 
than  two  teaspoonfuls  of  milk  at  most; 
thus  in  any  case,  its  depredations  upon  the 
milk  supply  need  not  be  feared.  Its  ob- 
ject in  frequenting  milk  houses  and  sta- 
bles is  far  other  than  the  milking  of  cows, 
for  it  is  an  inveterate  hunter  of  rats  and 
mice  and  is  thus  of  great  benefit  to  the 
farmer.  It  is  a  constrictor,  and  squeezes 
its  prey  to  death  in  its  coils. 

The  ground  color  of  the  milk  snake  is 
pale  gray,  but  it  is  covered  with  so  many 
brown  or  dark  gray  saddle-shaped  blotches, 
that  they  seem  rather  to  form  the  ground 
color;  the  lower  side  is  white,  marked 
with  square  black  spots  and  blotches.  The 
snake  attains  a  length  of  two  and  one-half 
to  three  feet  when  fully  grown.  Although 
it  is  commonly  called  the  spotted  adder, 
it  does  not  belong  to  the  adders  at  all, 
but  to  the  family  of  the  king  snakes. 

During  July  and  August,  the  mother 
snake  lays  from  seven  to  twenty  eggs;  they 
are  deposited  in  loose  soil,  in  moist  rub- 
bish, in  compost  heaps,  etc.  The  egg  is  a 
symmetrical  oval  in  shape  and  is  about 
one  and  one-eighth  inches  long  by  a  half 
inch  in  diameter.  The  shell  is  soft  and 
white,  like  kid  leather,  and  the  egg  resem- 
bles a  puffball.  The  young  hatch  nearly 
two  months  after  the  eggs  are  laid;  mean- 
while the  eggs  have  increased  in  size  so 
that  the  snakelings  are  nearly  eight  inches 
long  when  they  hatch.  The  saddle-shaped 
blotches  on  the  young  have  much  red 
in  them.  The  milk  snake  is  not  venomous; 
it  will  sometimes,  in  defense,  try  to  chew 
the  hand  of  the  captor,  but  the  wounds 


it  can   inflict  are  very  slight  and  heal 
quickly. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Readings  on 
page  194. 

LESSON  50 

THE  MILK  SNAKE  OR  SPOTTED  ADDER 
LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  milk  snake  is 
found  around  stables  where  it  hunts  for 
rats  and  mice;  it  never  milks  the  cows. 

METHOD  —  Although  the  snake  acts 
fierce,  it  is  perfectly  harmless  and  may  be 
captured  in  the  hands  and  placed  in  a 
glass-covered  box  for  a  study  in  the  school- 
room. 

OBSERVATIONS-—!.  Where  is  the  milk 
snake  found?  Why  is  it  called  milk  snake? 
Look  at  its  mouth  and  see  if  you  think 
it  could  possibly  suck  a  cow.  See  if  you 
can  get  the  snake  to  drink  milk. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Milk  make 
Lampropeltis  triangulum  triangulum 


198 


ANIMALS 


2.  What  does  it  live  upon?  How  does 
it  kill  its  prey?  Can  the  milk  snake  climb 
a  tree? 

3.  Where  does  the  mother  snake  lay 
her  eggs?  How  do  the  eggs  look?  How 
large  are  they?  How  long  are  the  little 
snakes  when  they  hatch  from  the  egg? 
Are  they  the  same  color  as  the  old  ones? 

4.  Describe   carefully   the  colors   and 
markings  of  the  milk  snake  and  explain 
how  its  colors  protect  it  from  observation. 
What  are  its  colors  on  the  underside? 

5.  Have  you  ever  seen  a  snake  shed  its 
skin?  Describe  how  it  was  done.  How  does 
the  sloughed-off  skin  look?  What  bird  usu- 
ally puts  snake  skins  around  its  nest? 

I  have  the  same  objection  to  killing  a 
snake  that  I  have  to  the  killing  of  any 
other  animal,  yet  the  most  humane  man  I 
know  never  omits  to  kill  one. 

Aug.  5,  1853. 

The  mower  on  the  river  meadows, 
when  lie  comes  to  open  his  hay  these  days, 


encounters  some  overgrown  water  adder, 
full  of  young  (?)  and  bold  in  defense  of 
its  progeny,  and  tells  a  tale  when  lie  comes 
home  at  night  which  causes  a  shudder  to 
run  through  the  village  —  how  it  came  at 
him  and  he  ran,  and  it  pursued  and  over- 
tooJc  him,  and  he  transfixed  it  with  a  pitch- 
fort  and  laid  it  on  a  cock  of  hay,  but  it 
revived  and  carne  at  him  again.  This  is  the 
story  he  tells  in  the  shops  at  evening.  The 
big  snake  is  a  sort  of  fabulous  animal.  It  is 
always  as  big  as  a  man's  arm  and  of  in- 
definite length.  Nobody  knows  exactly 
how  deadly  is  its  bite  but  nobody  is  known 
to  have  been  bitten  and  recovered.  Irish- 
men introduced  into  these  meadows  for 
the  first  time,  on  seeing  a  snake,  a  creature 
which  they  have  seen  only  in  pictures  be- 
fore, lay  down  their  scythes  and  run  as  if 
it  were  the  Evil  One  himself  and  cannot 
be  induced  to  return  to  their  work.  They 
sigh  for  Ireland,  where  they  say  there  is 
no  venomous  thing  that  can  hurt  you. 

—  THOREAU'S  JOURNAL 


THE  WATER  SNAKE 


Every  boy  who  goes  fishing  knows  the 
snake  found  commonly  about  milldams 
and  wharves  or  on  rocks  and  bushes  near 
the  water.  The  teacher  will  have  accom- 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Common  water  snake 
Natrix  sipedon  sipedon 


plished  a  great  work,  if  these  boys  are 
made  to  realize  that  this  snake  is  more 
interesting  as  a  creature  for  study,  than 
as  an  object  to  pelt  with  stones. 

The  water  snake  is  a  dingy  brown  in 
color,  with  cross-bands  of  brown  or  reddish 
brown  which  spread  out  into  blotches  at 
the  side.  Its  color  is  very  protective  as 
it  lies  on  stones  or  logs  in  its  favorite  atti- 
tude of  sunning  itself.  It  is  very  local  in 
its  habits,  and  generally  has  a  favorite 
place  for  basking  and  returns  to  it  year 
after  year  on  sunny  clays. 

This  snake  lives  mostly  upon  frogs  and 
salamanders  and  fish;  however,  it  preys 
usually  upon  fish  of  small  value,  so  it  is  of 
little  economic  importance.  It  catches  its 
victims  by  chasing  and  seizing  them  in 
its  jaws.  It  has  a  very  keen  sense  of  smell 
and  probably  traces  its  prey  in  this  man- 
ner, something  as  a  hound  follows  a  fox. 
It  is  an  expert  swimmer,  usually  lifting 
the  head  a  few  inches  above  the  water 
when  swimming,  although  it  is  able  to 


REPTILES 


199 


dive  and  remain  below  the  water  for  a 
short  time. 

The  water  snake  is  a  bluffer,  and,  when 
cornered,  it  flattens  itself  and  strikes 
fiercely.  But  its  teeth  contain  no  poison 
and  it  can  inflict  only  slight  and  harmless 
wounds.  When  acting  as  if  it  would 
"  rather  fight  than  eat,"  if  given  a  slight 
chance  to  escape,  it  will  flee  to  the  water 
like  a  "  streak  of  greased  lightning,"  as 
any  boy  will  assure  you. 

The  water  snake  may  attain  a  length  of 
about  four  feet;  but  the  usual  size  is  two 
and  one-half  to  three  feet.  The  young  do 
not  hatch  from  eggs,  but  are  born  alive 
in  August  and  September;  they  differ 
much  in  appearance  from  their  parents 
as  they  are  pale  gray  in  color,  with  jet- 
black  cross-bands.  The  young  often  num- 
ber twenty-five  to  forty  and  are  about  eight 
inches  long. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Field  Book  of 
Ponds  and  Streams,  by  Ann  H.  Morgan; 
also,  readings  on  page  194. 

LESSON  51 

THE  WATER  SNAKE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  water  snake 
haunts  the  banks  of  streams  because  its 
food  consists  of  creatures  that  live  in  and 
about  water. 

METHOD  —  If  water  snakes  are  found  in 
the  locality,  encourage  the  boys  to  capture 
one  without  harming  it,  and  bring  it  to 
school  for  observation.  However,  as  the 
water  snake  is  very  local  in  its  habits,  and 
haunts  the  same  place  year  after  year,  it 
will  be  better  nature-study  to  get  the  chil- 
dren to  observe  it  in  its  native  surround- 
ings. 

OBSERVATIONS—  i.  Where  is  the  water 
snake  found?  How  large  is  the  largest  one 
you  ever  saw? 

2.  Why  does  the  water  snake  live  near 
water?  What  is  its  food?  How  does  it 
catch  its  prey? 


3.  Describe  how  the  water  snake  swims. 
How  far  does   its  head  project  above 
the  water  when  swimming?  How  long 
can    it    stay    completely    beneath    the 
water? 

4.  Describe  the  markings  and  colors 
of  the  water  snake.  How  do  these  colors 
protect  it  from  observation?  How  do  the 
young  look? 

5.  Does  each  water  snake  have  a  favor- 
ite place  to  which  it  will  usually  go  to  sun 
itself? 

6.  Where  do  the  water  snakes  spend  the 
winter? 

May  12,  1858. 

Found  a  large  water  adder  by  the  edge 
of  Farmer's  large  mudhole,  which  abounds 
with  tadpoles  and  frogs,  on  which  it  was 
probably  feeding.  It  was  sunning  on  the 
bank  and  would  face  me  and  dart  its  head 
toward  me  when  I  tried  to  drive  it  from 
the  water.  It  is  barred  above,  but  indis- 
tinctly when  out  of  the  water,  so  that  it 
appears  almost  uniformly  dark  brown,  but 
in  the  water,  broad,  reddish  brown  bars  are 
seen,  very  distinctly  alternating  with  very 
dark-brown  ones.  The  head  was  very  flat 
and  suddenly  broader  than  the  neck  be- 
hind. Beneath,  it  was  whitish  and  reddish 
flesh-color.  It  was  about  two  inches  in 
diameter  at  the  thickest  part.  The  inside 
of  its  mouth  and  throat  was  pink.  They 
are  the  biggest  and  most  formidable-look- 
ing snakes  that  we  have.  It  was  awful  to 
see  it  wind  along  the  bottom  of  the  ditch 
at  last,  raising  wreaths  of  mud  amid  the 
tadpoles,  to  which  it  must  be  a  very  sea- 
serpent.  I  afterward  saw  another,  running 
under  Sam  Barrett's  grist-mill,  the  same 
afternoon.  He  said  that  he  saw  a  water- 
snake,  which  he  distinguished  from  a 
black  snake,  in  an  apple  tree  near  by,  last 
year,  with  a  young  robin  in  its  mouth, 
having  taken  it  from  the  nest.  There  was 
a  cleft  or  fork  in  the  tree  which  enabled 
it  to  ascend. 

—  THOREAU'S  JOURNAL 


SNAKES 


1.  RIBBON   SNAKE,   Thamnophis   sauritus 
sauritus.   This  slender ,  harmless  snake  feeds 
chiefly  upon  earthworms  and  young  frogs  and 
toads. 

Range:  From  Maine,  Ontario,  and  Michi- 
gan to  Georgia,  Alabama,  and  Mississippi. 
Habitat:  Swamps  and  moist  places. 

2.  CORAL  SNAKE,  Micrurus  fulvius  fulvius. 
This  beautiful  snake  is  extremely  poisonous. 
Few  persons  are  bitten  by  it,  however,  for  it  is 
nocturnal  in  habit  and  during  the  day  it  hides 
in  burrows.  Moreover,  it  does  not  strike,  as 
most  snakes  do,  but  bites  into  the  flesh  and 
chews.  It  injects  so  much  venom  in  that  way 
that  when  it  does  attack  its  bite  is  very  dangerous. 
This  dangerous  coral  snake  can  be  easily  dis- 
tinguished from   certain  other  snakes,   which 
appear  to  mimic  its  coloration,  by  the  yellow 
bands  which  separate  its  black  from  its  red 
bands.  Look  out  for  the  snake  with  the  yellow 
bands!  Gentle  though  it  may  seem,  do  not  play 
with  it. 

3.  RUBBER    BOA,    Charina   bottse.    Often 
spoken  of  as  blind,  this  boa  does  have  rudi- 
mentary eyes,  which  are,  however,  almost  use- 
less. 

Range:  In  humid  regions  from  Utah  and 
Montana  to  the  Pacific  coast. 

4.  ROUGH  GREEN  SNAKE,   Opheodrys  £es- 
tivus.  Gentle  and  harmless,  this  snake  is  chiefly 
insectivorous.  It  can  seldom  be  induced  to  bite, 
and  when  it  does  so,  its  teeth  rarely  break  the 
skin. 

Range:  From  New  Jersey  south  to  the  Gulf 
of  Mexico  and  west  to  Missouri  and  New 
Mexico.  Habitat :  Trees  and  bushy  places. 

5.  TIMBER  RATTLER,  Crotalus  horridus.  In 
North  America,   this   rattlesnake  is  the  best 
known  and  the  most  widely  distributed.  It  is 
more  variable  in  color  than  is  any  other  rattler. 
In  winter,  great  numbers  hibernate  in  the  same 

Photographs  by  A.  A, 


area,  and  in  early  spring,  when  there  is  a  warm 
day,  may  crawl  out  into  the  sunshine.  They 
usually  remain  near  the  den  and  again  seek  its 
protection  if  the  temperature  drops  appreciably. 
The  food  of  the  timber  rattler  consists  chiefly  of 
warm-blooded  animals  such  as  birds,  rats,  mice, 
and  rabbits.  It  is  generally  3  to  5  feet  long. 

Range:  Eastern  United  States  to  Mississippi 
Valley  states.  Habitat:  More  various  than  that 
of  any  other  rattler;  it  is  found  in  both  swampy 
and  mountainous  regions. 

6.  DESERT  GOPHER  SNAKE  or  BULL  SNAKE, 
Pituophis  catenifer  deserticola.   This  useful 
snake,  which  feeds  chiefly  on  rodents,  is  in 
some  states  protected  by  law.   The  length  of 
an  adult  is  usually  more  than  4  feet. 

Range:  Southern  California  to  Idaho  and 
Washington.  Other  bull  snakes  are  found  from 
British  Columbia  to  Mexico.  Habitat:  Desert 
areas. 

7.  RING-NECKED  SNAKE  or  EASTERN  RING- 
NECKED    SNAKE,    Diadophis   punctatus    ed~ 
wardsii.   The  food  of  this  snake  shows  great 
variety;  it  includes  other  small  snakes,  lizards, 
salamanders,  and  earthworms. 

Range:  Species  are  found  generally  over 
southern  Canada,  the  United  States,  and 
Mexico.  Habitat:  Under  old  boards,  loose 
stones,  or  pieces  of  bark. 

8.  SIDEWINDER  or  HORNED  RATTLESNAKE, 
Crotalus  cerastes.  Its  peculiar  means  of  loco- 
motion gives  this  snake  its  name:  the  body  is 
thrown  forward  in  a  series  of  large  loops,  and 
moves  at  an  angle  from  the  direction  in  which 
the  head  is  pointed.  This  way  of  getting  over 
the  ground  seems  better  adapted  than  the  gait 
of  most  snakes  would  be  to  life  in  sandy  deserts, 
to  which  the  sidewinder's  habitat  is  virtually 
limited.  It  is  known  to  feed  on  such  animals  as 
pocket  mice,  kangaroo  rats,  and  lizards. 

Range:  Lower  California  to  southwest  Utah. 

and  A.  H.  Wright 


SNAKES 


1.  PIKE-HEADED  TREE  SNAKE  or  AEIZONA 
LONG-HEADED  SNAKE,  Oxybelis  micropthala- 
mus.  This  gentle,  slender  snake  can  produce 
a  poisonous  bite,  which  it  uses  to  paralyze  its 
prey.  It  feeds  chiefly  on  lizards  and  various  small 
animals. 

Range:  In  the  United  States,  southern 
Arizona.  Habitat:  Trees. 

2.  PILOT  BLACK  SNAKE,  Elaphe  obsoleta 
obsoleta.  Rats  and  other  small  rodents  are  the 
food  of  this  useful  snake.  Adults  are  usually 
5J^  feet  long,  but  have  reached  a  length  of  7  and 
8  feet. 

Range:  From  southern  New  England  west- 
ward to  Michigan,  southward  to  Florida  and 
Texas. 

3.  COPPERHEAD,      Agkistrodon     mokasen 
mokasen.  The  copperhead  is  common  in  many 
parts  of  the   United  States,  and  is  probably 
responsible  for  more  bites  than  is  any  other  kind 
of  snake.  Deaths  from  its  bite  have  been  recorded, 
but  reports  from  the  Antivenin  Institute  over  a 
period  of  two  years  show  that  although  in  this 
time  more  than  three   hundred  persons  were 
bitten,  there  were  no  fatalities,  whether  or  not 
treatment  was  given.  The  food  of  the  copperhead 
consists  mainly  of  insects,  birds,  small  rodents, 
and  amphibians.  It  is  rather  sluggish  in  habits, 
and,  when  molested,  usually  tries  to  escape;  but 
if  it  is  taken  by  surprise  or  cornered,  it  defends 
itself  vigorously. 

Range:  Massachusetts  to  Florida  and  west- 
ward to  Arkansas  and  Texas.  Habitat:  The 
copperhead  usually  inhabits  drier  ground  than 
its  relative  the  moccasin  (No.  6). 

4.  BOYLE'S  KING  SNAKE  or  BOYLE'S  MILK 
SNAKE,    Lampropeltis    getulus   boylii.    This 
snake  belongs  to  a  great  group  of  king  snakes,  all 
of  which  do  much  good  to  farmers  by  destroying 
rodents  and  many  other  harmful  creatures,  in- 
cluding even  poisonous  snakes. 

Range:  Arizona,  western  Nevada,  and  Cali- 
fornia. Other  species  are  widely  distributed. 

.  Photographs  by  A. 


Habitat:  Regions  of  small  streams,  especially 
where  chaparral  is  present. 

5.  GRAY  PILOT  SNAKE,  Elaphe  obsolete 
confinis.  The  habits  of  this  snake  are  similar 
to  those  of  the  pilot  black  snake  (No.  2). 

Range:  The  lower  Mississippi  Valley,  South 
Atlantic,  and  Gulf  states. 

6.  WATER    MOCCASIN    or    COTTONMOUTH, 
Agkistrodon  piscivorus.  This  poisonous  snake 
is  heavier  and  larger  than  the  copperhead,  since 
it  grows  from  3  to  5  or  even  6  feet  in  length.  The 
name  of  cottonmouth  has  been  given  it  because 
of  the  white  appearance  of  the  open  mouth.  It 
is  found  in  regions  of  swamps  or  slow-flowing 
streams,  and  in  sunny  hours  is  often  to  be  seen 
at  rest  on  any  object  that  overhangs  the  water; 
it  stays  in  such  a  position  that  if  danger  appears 
it  can  dive  into  the  water.  It  eats  both  warm- 
and  cold-blooded  animals,  even  including  other 
snakes.  The  young  are  born  alive. 

Range:  From  southern  Virginia  to  Florida 
and  the  Gulf  states.  Habitat:  Swampy  areas. 

7.  CALIFORNIA  LYRE  SNAKE,  Trimorphodon 
vandenburghi.  The  bite  of  this  slender,  non- 
aggressive  snake,  which  it  uses  to  kill  or  numb 
the  small  animals  that  are  its  prey,  is  possibly 
poisonous  to  man. 

Range:  California.  Other  snakes  of  this 
group  are  found  in  the  southwestern  United 
States,  Mexico,  and  Central  and  South  Amer- 
ica. 

8.  SOUTHERN  HOGNOSE  SNAKE,  Heterdon 
simus.  When  threatened,  this  harmless  snake 
may  "play  possum";  or  it  may  expand  its  body, 
flatten  its  head,  and  hiss.  It  seems  to  feel  that 
all  dead  snakes  should  lie  on  their  backs;  for,  if 
turned  on  its  belly  when  playing  dead,  it  will 
flop  over  on  its  back.  After  a  short  time,  if  it  is 
not  disturbed  again,  it  will  turn  over  and  crawl 
away.  Because  their  threatening  actions  and 
ferocious  appearance  have  led  people  to  con- 
sider them  dangerous  to  man,  many  of  these  in- 
offensive snakes  have  been  killed. 

Range :  From  Florida  to  Indiana. 

A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


2O4 


ANIMALS 


THE  TURTLE 


A  turtle  is  at  heart  a  misanthrope;  its 
shell  is  in  itself  proof  of  its  owner's  dis- 
trust of  this  world.  But  we  need  not  won- 
der at  this  misanthropy,  if  we  think  for  a 
moment  of  the  creatures  that  lived  on 
this  earth  at  the  time  when  turtles  first 
appeared.  Almost  any  of  us  would  have 
been  glad  of  a  shell  in  which  to  retire  if 
we  had  been  contemporaries  of  the  smilo 
don  and  other  monsters  of  earlier  geologic 
times. 

When  the  turtle  feels  safe  and  walks 
abroad  for  pleasure,  his  head  projects  far 
from  the  front  end  of  his  shell,  and  the 


r 


A,  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Mud  turtle,  Kinosternon  subrubrum  hip- 
pocrepis,  viewed  jrom  above.  Many  species 
of  mud  turtles  are  found  in  the  eastern,  cen- 
tral, and  southern  United  States.  The  one  pic- 
tured is  found  from  Alabama  to  Texas  and 
north  to  Kansas.  When  in  captivity,  mud 
turtles  will  eat  lettuce  and  meat 


legs,  so  wide  and  soft  that  they  look  as  if 
they  had  no  bones  in  them,  project  out  at 
the  side,  while  the  little,  pointed  tail 
brings  up  an  undignified  rear;  but  frighten 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Mud  turtle  viewed  from  below 

him  and  at  once  head,  legs,  and  tail  all 
disappear,  and  even  if  we  turn  him  over, 
we  see  nothing  but  the  tip  of  the  nose, 
the  claws  of  the  feet  and  the  tail  turned 
deftly  sidewise.  When  frightened,  he 
hisses  threateningly;  the  noise  seems  to 
be  made  while  the  mouth  is  shut,  and 
the  breath  emitted  through  the  nostrils. 
The  upper  shell  of  the  turtle  is  called 
the  carapace  and  the  lower  shell,  the 
plastron.  There  is  much  difference  in  the 
different  species  of  turtles  in  the  shape  of 
the  upper  shell  and  the  size  and  shape  of 
the  lower  one.  In  most  species  the  cara- 
pace is  sub-globular  but  in  some  it  is 
quite  flat.  The  upper  shell  is  grown  fast  to 
the  backbone  of  the  animal,  and  the 
lower  shell  to  the  breastbone.  The  mark- 


REPTILES 


205 


ings  and  colors  of  the  shell  offer  excellent 
subjects  for  drawing.  The  painted  terra- 
pin has  a  red-mottled  border  to  the  shell, 
very  ornamental;  the  wood  turtle  has  a 
shell  made  up  of  plates  each  of  which 
is  ornamented  with  concentric  ridges;  and 
the  box  turtle  has  a  front  and  rear  trap 
door,  which  can  be  pulled  up  against  the 
carapace  when  the  turtle  wishes  to  retire, 
thus  covering  it  entirely. 

The  turtle's  head  is  decidedly  snakelike. 
Its  color  differs  with  different  species.  The 
wood  turtle  has  a  triangular,  horny  cover- 
ing on  the  top  of  the  head,  in  which  the 
color  and  beautiful  pattern  of  the  shell 
are  repeated;  the  underparts  are  brick-red 
with  indistinct  yellowish  lines  under  the 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Painted  turtle,  or  terrapin,  Chrysemys  belli 
marginata.  The  painted  turtle  pictured  is 
found  from  the  Mississippi  River  eastward; 
but  species  can  be  jound  anywhere  in  the 
United  States  except  in  deserts  and  very  high 
mountains.  This  turtle  often  swims  about 
rocks  and  logs  that  protrude  above  the  water 

jaw.  The  eyes  are  black  with  a  yellowish 
iris?  which  somehow  gives  them  a  look 
of  intelligence.  The  turtle  has  no  eyelids 
like  our  own,  but  has  a  nictitating  mem- 
brane which  comes  up  from  below  and 
completely  covers  the  eye;  if  we  seize 
the  turtle  by  the  head  and  attempt  to 
touch  its  eyes,  we  can  see  the  use  of  this 
eyelid.  When  the  turtle  winks,  it  seems  to 
turn  the  eyeball  down  against  the  lower 
lid. 

The  turtle's  nostrils  are  mere  pinholes 
in  the  snout.  The  mouth  is  a  more  or  less 
hooked  beak,  and  is  armed  with  cutting 
edges  instead  of  teeth.  The  constant  pul- 
sation in  the  throat  is  caused  by  the  tur- 
tle's swallowing  air  for  breathing. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Chicken  turtle,  Deirochelys  reticularia. 
This  turtle  is  at  home  on  the  coastal  plain 
from  North  Carolina  to  Mississippi.  Its  high 
shell  may  reach  a  length  of  eight  inches;  its 
neck  is  long  and  snakelike 

The  turtle's  legs,  although  so  large  and 
soft,  have  bones  within  them,  as  the  skele- 
ton shows.  The  claws  are  long  and  strong; 
there  are  five  claws  on  the  front  and  four 
on  the  hind  feet.  Some  species  have  a 
distinct  web  between  the  toes;  in  others 
it  is  less  marked,  depending  upon  whether 
the  species  lives  mostly  in  water  or  out 
of  it.  The  color  of  the  turtle's  body  varies 
with  the  species;  the  body  is  covered  with 
coarse,  rough  skin  which  frequently  bears 
many  scales  or  plates.  Thus,  large  bright- 
colored  scales  are  conspicuous  on  the  fore 
legs  of  the  wood  turtle,  and  the  tail  of 
the  snapping  turtle  bears  a  saw-toothed 
armor  of  dorsal  plates. 

The  enemies  of  turtles  are  the  larger 
fishes  and  other  turtles.  Two  turtles 
should  never  be  kept  in  the  same  aquar- 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


Diamond  back  terrapin,  Malaclemys  cen- 
trata.  The  home  of  the  diamond  back  is  in 
salt  marshes  from  Florida  to  Massachusetts. 
In  captivity  it  will  eat  lettuce,  oysters,  beef, 
chopped  clams,  or  fish.  Its  flesh  is  used  as 
meat  and  for  making  soup 


206 


ANIMALS 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Florida  snapper,  Chelydra  osceola,  viewed 
from  above.  Snappers  live  in  slow-running 
streams,  ponds,  or  marshes;  the  female  often 
goes  some  distance  from  her  regular  home  to 
bury  her  round,  white  eggs  —  usually  about 
two  dozen  in  number. 

ium?  since  they  eat  each  other's  tails  and 
legs  with  great  relish.  They  feed  upon 
insects,  small  fish,  or  almost  anything  soft- 
bodied  which  they  can  find  in  the  water; 
they  are  especially  fond  of  earthworms. 
The  species  which  frequent  the  land  feed 
upon  tender  vegetation  and  also  eat  ber- 
ries. In  an  aquarium,  a  turtle  should  be 
fed  earthworms,  chopped  fresh  beef,  let- 
tuce leaves,  and  berries.  The  wood  turtle 
is  especially  fond  of  cherries. 

The  aquarium  should  always  have  in 
it  a  stone  or  some  other  object  projecting 
above  the  water,  so  that  the  turtle  may 


climb  out,  if  it  chooses.  In  winter,  water 
turtles  may  bury  themselves  in  the  ooze 
at  the  bottom  of  ponds  and  streams.  The 
land  turtles  dig  themselves  into  the  earth. 
Their  eggs  have  white  leathery  shells,  are 
oblong  or  round,  and  are  buried  by  the 
mother  in  the  sand  or  soil  near  a  stream 
or  pond.  The  long  life  of  turtles  is  a  well- 
authenticated  fact;  dates  carved  upon 
their  shells  show  them  to  have  attained 
the  age  of  thirty  or  forty  years. 
The  following  are  common  kinds: 
(a)  The  Snapping  Turtle  —  This  some- 
times attains  a  shell  fourteen  inches  long 
and  a  weight  of  forty  pounds.  It  is  a  vicious 


r 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Florida  snapper  viewed  from  below 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Gopher  turtle,  Gopherus  berlandieri.  These 
turtles  are  related  to  the  huge  turtles  of  the 
Galapagos  Islands.  The  one  pictured  is  found 
in  the  Rio  Grande  region;  but  the  range  of  the 
gopher  turtles  extends  widely  through  the 
South  and  the  Southwest 

creature  and  inflicts  a  severe  wound  with 
its  sharp,  hooked  beak;  it  should  not  be 
used  for  a  nature-study  lesson  unless  the 
specimen  is  very  young.  The  large  alligator 
snapper  of  the  South  may  attain  a  weight 
of  one  hundred  pounds. 

(b)  The  Mud  Turtle  -  The  musk  tur- 
tle and  the  common  mud  turtle  both  in- 
habit slow  streams  and  ponds;  they  are 
truly  aquatic  and  only  come  to  shore  to 
deposit  their  eggs.  They  cannot  eat  unless 
they  are  under  water,  and  they  seek  their 
food  in  the  muddy  bottoms.  The  musk 
turtle,  when  handled,  emits  a  very  strong 
odor;  it  has  on  each  side  of  the  head  two 
broad  yellow  stripes.  The  mud  turtle  has 
no  odor.  Its  head  is  ornamented  with 
greenish  yellow  spots. 

(c)  The  Painted  Terrapin,  or  Pond 
Turtle  —  This  can  be  determined  by  the 


REPTILES 


red  mottled  border  of  its  shell.  It  makes 
a  good  pet,  if  kept  in  an  aquarium  by  it- 
self, but  will  destroy  other  creatures.  It 
will  eat  meat  or  chopped  fish,  and  is  fond 
of  earthworms  and  soft  insects.  It  finds 
its  food  most  readily  under  water. 

(d)  The  Spotted  Turtle -This  has 
the  upper  shell  black  with  numerous 
round  yellow  spots  upon  it.  It  is  common 
in  ponds  and  marshy  streams  and  its  fa- 
vorite perch  is  upon  a  log  with  many  of 
its  companions.  It  feeds  under  water,  eat- 
ing insect  larvae,  dead  fish,  and  vegetation. 
It  likes  fresh  lettuce. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Spotted  turtle,  Clemmys  guttata.  The 
range  of  the  spotted  turtles  extends  jrom 
Michigan  to  Maine  and  south  to  Florida.  In 
captivity  they  often  become  very  tame;  they 
prefer  raw  food  —  earthworms,  aquatic  in- 
sects, ground  beef,  or  fish 

(e)  The  Wood  Terrapin  —  This  is  our 
most  common  turtle;  it  is  found  in  damp 
woods  and  wet  places,  since  it  lives  largely 
upon  the  land.  Its  upper  shell  often 
reaches  a  length  of  six  and  one-half  inches 
and  is  made  up  of  many  plates,  orna- 
mented with  concentric  ridges.  This  is 
the  turtle  upon  whose  shell  people  carve 
initials  and  dates  and  then  set  it  free. 
All  the  fleshy  parts  of  this  turtle,  except 
the  top  of  the  head  and  the  limbs,  are 
brick-red.  It  feeds  on  tender  vegetables, 
berries,  and  insects,  but  also  enjoys 
chopped  meat.  It  makes  an  interesting 
pet  and  will  soon  learn  to  eat  from  the 
fingers  of  its  master. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Eggs  of  spotted  turtle 
Clemmys  guttata 

(f)  The  Box  Turtle —  This  is  easily 
distinguished  from  the  others,  because  the 
front  and  rear  portions  of  the  lower  shell 
are  hinged  so  that  they  can  be  pulled  up 
against  the  upper  shell.  When  this  turtle 
is  attacked,  it  draws  into  the  shell  and 
closes  both  front  and  back  doors,  and  is 
very  safe  from  its  enemies.  It  lives  entirely 
upon  land  and  feeds  upon  berries,  tender 
vegetation,  and  insects.  It?  too,  in  captivity 
will  eat  chopped  meat.  It  lives  to  a  great 
age. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

A  young  wood  turtle 
Clemmys  insculpta 


208 


ANIMALS 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Box  turtle,  Terrapene  major.  One  or  more 
species  of  box  turtle  can  be  found  in  almost 
any  portion  of  the  United  States  from  the 
Rocky  Mountains  eastward 

(g)  The  Soft-shelled  Turtle  — These 
are  found  in  streams  and  canals.  The  up- 
per shell  looks  as  if  it  were  of  one  piece 
of  soft  leather,  and  resembles  a  griddle- 
cake.  The  neck  is  very  long  and  the 
head  particularly  snakelike  with  a  piglike 
snout.  Although  soft-shelled,  these  turtles 
are  far  from  soft-tempered,  and  must  be 
handled  with  care.  In  captivity  they  must 
be  kept  in  water. 

SUGGESTED  READING— Along  the  Brook, 
by  Raymond  T.  Fuller;  Field  Book  of 
Ponds  and  Streams,  by  Ann  H.  Morgan; 
First  Lessons  in  Nature  Study,  and  Holi- 
day Pond,  both  by  Edith  M.  Patch;  Hum- 
phrey: One  Hundred  Years  along  the 
Wayside  with  a  Box  Turtle,  by  Marjorie 
Flack;  The  Spring  of  trie  Year,  by  Dallas 
Lore  Sharp  (Turtle  Eggs  for  Agassiz); 
also,  readings  on  page  194. 


A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 

Soft-shelled  turtle,  Amyda  emoryi.  The 
species  pictured  is  found  in  Texas,  Oklahoma, 
and  Arkansas;  other  species  may  be  found 
from  Canada  south  to  the  Gulf  and  as  jar 
west  as  Colorado 


LESSON  52 
THE  TURTLE 


LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  turtle's  shell 
is  for  the  purpose  of  protecting  its  owner 
from  the  attack  of  enemies.  Some  turtles 
live  upon  land  and  others  in  water. 

METHOD  —  A  turtle  of  any  kind,  in  the 
schoolroom,  is  all  that  is  needed  to  make 
this  lesson  interesting. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  How  much  can  you 
see  of  the  turtle  when  it  is  walking?  If 


A  snapping  turtle 


J.  T.  Lloyd 


you  disturb  it  what  does  it  do?  How  much 
of  it  can  you  see  then?  Can  you  see  more 
of  it  from  the  lower  side  than  from  the 
upper?  What  is  the  advantage  to  the  tur- 
tle of  having  such  a  shell? 

2.  Compare  the  upper  shell  with  the 
lower  as  follows:  How  are  they  shaped 
differently?  What  is  their  difference  in 
color?  Would  it  be  a  disadvantage  to  the 
turtle  if  the  upper  shell  were  as  light  col- 
ored as  the  lower?  Why?  Make  a  drawing 
of  the  upper  and  the  lower  shell  showing 
the  shape  of  the  plates  of  which  they  are 
composed.  Where  are  the  two  grown  to- 
gether? 

3.  Is  the  border  of  the  upper  shell  dif- 
ferent from  the  central  portion  in  color 
and  markings?  Is  the  edge  smooth  or  scal- 
loped? 


REPTILES 


209 


4.  How  far  does  the  turtle's  head  pro- 
ject from  the  front  of  the  shell?  What  is 
the  shape  of  the  head?  With  what  colors 
and  pattern  is  it  marked?  Describe  the 
eyes.  How  are  they  protected?  How  does 
the  turtle  wink?  Can  you  discover  the 
little  eyelid  which  comes  up  from  below 
to  cover  the  eye? 

5.  Describe  the  nose  and  nostrils.  Do 
you  think  the  turtle  has  a  keen  sense  of 
smell? 

6.  Describe  the  mouth.  Are  there  any 
teeth?  With  what  does  it  bite  off  its  food? 
Describe  the  movement  of  the  throat. 
What  is  the  cause  of  this  constant  pulsa- 
tion? 

7.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  leg?  How 
is  it  marked?  How  many  claws  on  the 
front  feet?  Are  any  of  the  toes  webbed? 
On  which  feet  are  the  webbed  toes?  Why 


should  they  be  webbed?  Describe  the  way 
a  turtle  swims.  Which  feet  are  used  for 
oars? 

8.  Describe  the  tail.  How  much  can 
be  seen  from  above  when  the  turtle  is 
walking?  What  becomes  of  it,  when  the 
turtle  withdraws  into  its  shell? 

9.  How  much  of  the  turtle's  body  can 
you  see?  What  is  its  color?  Is  it  rough  or 
smooth? 

10.  What   are   the   turtle's    enemies? 
How  does  it  escape  from  them?  What 
noise  does  the  turtle  make  when  fright- 
ened or  angry? 

11.  Do  all  turtles  live  for  part  of  the 
time  in  water?  What  is  their  food  and 
where  do  they  find  it?  Write  an  account 
of  all  the  species  of  turtles  that  you  know. 

12.  How  do  turtle  eggs  look?  Where  are 
they  laid?  How  are  they  hidden? 


LIZARDS 


1  and  2.  BANDED  GECKO,  Coleonyx  brevis. 
The  gecko,  a  male,  shown  in  (1)  has  lost  the 
tip  of  its  fragile  tail  In  (2)  another  gecko,  a 
female,  is  pictured  with  a  complete  tail.  An 
interesting  fact  about  these  creatures  is  that 
after  the  tail  has  been  lost  another  complete 
tail  may  later  be  regenerated.  This  is  char- 
acteristic of  lizards.  The  banded  gecko  is  2  to 
3  inches  long,  and  is  yellow  and  brown  in 
color;  its  small  scales  give  it  a  very  soft,  smooth 
appearance. 

Range:  Found  only  in  Texas.  Habitat: 
Under  stones;  it  comes  out  at  night. 

3.  CHAMELEON,   Anolis   carolinensis.    This 
well-known  lizard  changes  color  with  tempera- 
ture conditions:  it  may  fade  from  dark  brown 
to  pale  green  in  three  minutes.  Often  seen  in 
captivity,  it  can  be  fed  on  meal  worms  and 
flies;  it  needs  water  to  drink. 

Range:  North  Carolina  and  Florida  to  the 
Rio  Grande. 

4.  FENCE  LIZARD,  Sceloporus  thayeri.  Like 
other  lizards,  this  animal  eats  insects.  It  is 
about  5  inches  long. 

5.  GLASS    SNAKE     or    LEGLESS    LIZARD, 
Ophisaurus  ventralis.  This  long,  slender  lizard 
is  smooth  and  glassy.  It  has  a  ground  color  of 
olive,  black,  or  brown,  with  greenish  to  black 
markings,  and  a  greenish  white  on  the  under 
portions  of  the  body.  The  long  tail  makes  up 
about  two-thirds  of  the  total  length  of  the  animal. 
An  average  full-grown  specimen  is  about  24 
inches  long,  but  some  individuals  may  attain  a 
length  of  3  feet.  Like  most  other  lizards,  the  glass 
snake,  if  seized,  can  shed  its  tail.  While  its 
astonished  pursuer  gazes  at  the  tail,  the  body 
escapes.  A  new  tail  begins  to  grow  at  once,  but 
it  seems  never  to  grow  quite  as  large  as  the  orig- 
inal. The  glass  snake  can  be  distinguished  from 
a  true  snake  by  an  ear  opening  on  each  side  of 
the  head,  by  numerous  rows  of  small,  overlapping 
scales  on  its  belly,  and  by  movable  eyelids. 

Range:    Virginia   to   Florida   westward   to 


Nebraska,  Wisconsin,  and  Mexico.  Habitat; 
Chiefly  in  the  ground. 

6.  ALLIGATOR  LIZARD  or  PLATED  LIZARD, 
Gerrhonotus  inf emails.  Whatever  this  lizard 
hears  must  "go  in  one  ear  and  out  the  other"; 
for  one  can  look  through  the  ear  openings  directly 
through   the   head.    These   lizards,   which   are 
about  18  inches  long,  make  interesting  pets. 

Range:  Southern  Texas  and  northern  Mex- 
ico. 

7.  SONORAN    SKINK,    Eumeces    obsoletus. 
Skinks  are  seldom  seen  in  captivity,  for  they 
are  hard  to  capture.  They  are  active  in  day- 
light.  The  females  of  some  skinks  stay  with 
their  eggs  until  they  hatch. 

Range:  Utah  and  Kansas  to  northern  Mex- 
ico. Other  kinds  are  widely  distributed  over 
North  and  Central  America;  there  are  many 
in  the  Old  World. 

8.  GILA  MONSTER,  Heloderma  suspectum. 
As  far  as  is  known,  no  two  gila  monsters  show 
exactly  the  same  color  patterns.  Orange,  salmon, 
and  brown  or  black  are  the  chief  colors,  but  they 
are  variously  arranged.  This  and  the  closely  re- 
lated Mexican  beaded  lizard  are  the  only  poison- 
ous lizards  known  in  the  New  World.  In  the 
gila  monster  the  poison  glands  are  situated  in 
the  lower  jaw  and  the  venom  flows  out  around 
the  teeth  and  gums*  Therefore,  since  the  teeth 
are  above  the  level  of  the  glands,  the  poison  some- 
times does  not  enter  a  wound  made  by  the  teeth. 
This  lizard  is  rather  sluggish  and  quite  often 
will  not  bite  even  if  it  is  given  a  good  chance  to 
do  so.  When  it  does  bite,  it  holds  on  with  a  strong 
grip.  In  walking  it  moves  slowly  and  seems 
awkward,  but  it  is  active  enough  to  climb  trees 
and  bushes,  evidently  in  search  of  bird's  eggs,  of 
which  it  is  very  fond.  If  it  is  given  plenty  of 
drinking  water,  it  can  be  kept  in  captivity  for 
years  on  a  diet  of  hen's  eggs. 

Range:  Arizona  and  New  Mexico.  Habitat; 
Deserts. 


Photographs  by  A.  A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


LIZARDS 


1  and  2.  REGAL  HORNED  TOAD,  Phrynosoma 
solare.  This  lizard  is  called  "  regal "  because 
the  row  of  spines  across  the  sides  and  rear  of 
the  head  gives  the  effect  of  a  crown.  Its  color 
is  yellowish,  brownish,  reddish,  or  grayish. 
The  eggs  are  shown  in  No.  2. 

Range:  Arizona  and  Lower  California. 
Other  kinds  are  found  throughout  the  western 
and  southwestern  states  and  northern  Mexico. 

3.  HORNED  TOAD,  Phrynosoma  blainvillii. 
These  lizards,  commonly  called  (lhorned  toads" 
are  inhabitants  of  hot,  dry  regions.  In  the  warmer 
months  they  live  above  ground  during  the  hours 
of  daylight,  and  are  most  active  when  the  heat 
is  greatest.  Before  dark  they  bury  themselves 
in  the  sand.  They  hibernate  in  winter.  In  color 
they  often  resemble  somewhat  the  ground  where 
they  live.  A  strange  habit  of  the  horned  toad  is 
that  cf  "  squirting  blood  "  from  one  or  both  eyes, 
perhaps  as  a  means  of  self-defense.  The  blood 
has  not  been  found  to  be  poisonous,  and  must 
be  ejected  more  to  scare  than  actually  to  injure 
the  enemy.  The  horned  toad  can  be  tamed,  and 
is  often  kept  for  a  pet.  All  too  often,  however,  its 
owner  does  not  provide  enough  of  the  right  kind 
of  food — various  kinds  of  small  insects — for  it, 
and  in  such  circumstances  its  ability  to  live  for 
a  long  time  without  food  or  water  serves  only  to 
prolong  its  discomfort.  In  the  Southwest  these 
lizards  are  sometimes  stuffed  and  sold  to  tourists 
as  souvenirs,  but  some  states  have  passed  laws 
prohibiting  such  sales. 

Range:  San  Francisco  into  Lower  Cali- 
fornia. 

4.  HORNED  TOADS  FEEDING  ON  ANTS.  In 
this  picture  several  kinds  of  horned  toads  are 
shown  feeding  on  ants  in  a  pile  of  sand.  They 
did  not  dash  into  the  pile,  but  stood  about  it 
in  a  circle  and  caught  the  ants  as  they  came  out. 

5.  MALE  FENCE  LIZARD,  Sceloporus  spino- 
sus.  On  either  side  of  the  belly  the  male  lizard 

Photographs  by  A. 


has  a  large  blue  or  purple  spot  margined  with 
black.  Such  marks  are  used  to  identify  many 
male  lizards. 

Range:  Northern  Mexico,  New  Mexico,  and 
Texas  to  western  Florida.  Habitat:  Trunks  of 
standing  or  fallen  trees. 

6.  MOUNTAIN  BOOMER  or  COLLARED  LIZ- 
ARD, Crotaphytus  collaris  baileyi.  This  un- 
usual looking  animal  makes  a  good  pet  if  enough 
food  can  be  provided  for  it.  It  lives  chiefly  on 
insects  and  blossoms  of  various  plants,  but  it 
also  has  cannibalistic  habits,  and  so  must  not 
be  kept  in  a  cage  with  other  lizards  of  equal  or 
smaller  size.  It  is  found  about  rocks  at  high 
altitudes.  If  alarmed  or  pursued,  it  runs  until  it 
can  find  a  crevice  in  the  rocks.  It  is  a  swift 
runner  and  a  high  jumper,  being  able  to  clear 
an  object  as  much  as  two  feet  high.  In  the  hottest 
part  of  the  day  its  colors  seem  brighter  than 
during  the  cooler  hours. 

Range:  Southwestern  United  States  and 
Mexico.  Habitat:  Dry,  rocky  regions. 

7.  WHIP-TAIL  or  RACE  RUNNER,  Cnemi- 
dophorus  gularis.   These  striped  lizards  are 
active  all  day  under  the  hottest  sun  in  open 
areas.  In  the  specimen  pictured  here,  note  the 
balls  of  dirt  on  its  toes  from  running  in  soft 
dirt  after  a  rain. 

Range:  Southwestern  United  States  and 
northern  Mexico.  A  six-line  race  runner  is 
common  in  the  East. 

8.  CHUCK-WALLA,  Sauromalus  obesus.  This 
large  lizard,  10  to  16  inches  long,  is  a  vege- 
tarian.   It   protects   itself  by   escaping   into 
crevices.  This  specimen  ran  into  a  crevice  and 
puffed  himself  up  to  such  a  size  that  it  was 
hard  to  get  him  out. 

Range:  Southwestern  United  States.  Habi- 
tat: Rocky  places  in  desert  areas. 

A.  and  A.  H.  Wright 


MAMMALS 


Mammals,  in  contrast  to  fishes,  am- 
phibians, and  reptiles,  are  warm-blooded 
animals,  as  are  birds.  The  skin  of  most 
mammals  is  more  or  less  hairy,  in  con- 
trast to  the  scale-covered  fish  and  the 
feathered  birds.  The  young  of  most  mam- 
mals are  born  alive,  whereas  the  young  of 
birds,  fish,  amphibians,  and  some  species 


Marthe  Ann,  one  year  old.  Human  beings  are 
mammals 

of  reptiles  hatch  from  eggs.  After  birth 
young  mammals  breathe  by  lungs  rather 
than  by  gills  as  do  the  fish;  for  a  time  they 
are  nourished  with  milk  produced  by  the 
mother. 

Great  variations  exist  in  the  mammal 
group.  Some  of  the  typical  animals  in  the 
mammal  group  which  illustrate  these  vari- 
ations are  opossum,  armadillo,  whale, 
deer,  buffalo,  rabbit,  mouse,  woodchuck, 
mole,  bat,  bear,  horse,  cat,  dog,  and  man. 

Man  has  always  depended  a  great  deal 
on  the  lower  mammal  forms;  he  uses 
them  for  food,  clothing,  transportation, 
and  numerous  other  purposes.  Many 


forms  are  domesticated  and  have  served 
as  man's  obedient  servants  for  many  cen- 
turies. 

Some  of  the  so-called  game  animals 
have  suffered  wanton  destruction  at  the 
hands  of  "  civilized  man/7  but  in  more 
recent  years  many  laws  and  regulations 
have  been  passed  to  give  these  animals 
more  chances  to  live.  Even  more  stringent 
laws  are  needed  and  rigid  enforcement 
must  be  exacted  if  wild  animals  in  gen- 
eral are  to  be  expected  to  increase  in 
number. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Along  Nature's 
Trails,  by  Lillian  C.  Athey;  Animals  of 
America,  edited  by  H.  E.  Anthony;  The 
Book  about  Animals,  published  by  Fred- 
erick Warne  and  Company;  Field  Boole 
of  North  American  Mammals,  by  H.  E. 
Anthony;  Homes  and  Habits  of  Wild 
Animals,  by  Karl  P.  Schmidt;  Lives  of 
Game  Animals,  by  Ernest  Thompson 
Seton;  Nature  —  by  Seaside  and  Way- 
side, by  Mary  G.  Phillips  and  Julia  M. 
Wright,  Book  4,  Our  Earth  and  Its  Life; 
Our  Great  Outdoors,  Mammals,  by  C. 
W.  G.  Eifrig;  Our  Wild  Animals,  by 
Edwin  L.  Moseley;  Out  of  Doors:  A 
Guide  to  Nature,  by  Paul  B.  Mann  and 
George  T.  Hastings;  The  Picture  Book  of 
Animals,  The  Second  Picture  Book  of 
Animals,  both  by  Isabel  E.  Lord;  Present 
Day  Mammals,  by  Claude  W.  Leister; 
The  Stir  of  Nature,  by  William  H.  Carr; 
Tracks  and  Trails,  by  Leonard  Rossell; 
Wild  Animals  of  North  America,  by  E. 
W.  Nelson;  additional  references  are  to 
be  found  in  the  bibliography  in  the  back 
of  this  Handbook,  under  various  head- 
ings: Mammals,  Animals  in  General, 
Nature-study  in  General,  Textbooks 
and  Readers,  Nature  Poetry,  Magazines 
and  Periodicals,  Books  for  Parents  and 
Teachers. 


MAMMALS 


215 


THE  COTTON-TAIL  RABBIT 

The  Bunnies  are  a  feeble  folk  whose  weakness  is  their  strength. 

To  shun  a  gun  a  Bun  will  run  to  almost  any  length.  —  OLIVER  HERFORD 


It  is  well  for  Molly  Cotton-tail  and  her 
family  that  they  have  learned  to  shun 
more  than  guns,  for  almost  every  preda- 
tory animal  and  bird  makes  a  dinner  of 
them  on  every  possible  occasion.  But  de- 
spite these  enemies,  moreover,  with  the 
addition  of  guns,  men,  and  dogs,  the 
cotton-tail  lives  and  flourishes  in  our 
midst.  A  "  Molly  "  raised  two  families  last 
year  in  a  briar-patch  back  of  our  garden 
on  the  Cornell  campus,  where  dogs  of 
many  breeds  abound;  and  after  each  fresh 
fall  of  snow  this  winter  we  have  been  able 
to  trace  our  bunny  neighbors  in  their 
night  wanderings  around  the  house,  be- 
neath the  spruces  and  in  the  orchard. 
The  track  consists  of  two  long  splashes, 
paired,  and  between  and  a  little  behind 
them,  two  smaller  ones;  the  rabbit  uses 
its  front  feet  as  a  boy  uses  a  vaulting  pole 
and  lands  the  hind  feet  on  each  side  and 
ahead  of  them;  because  the  bottoms  of  the 
feet  are  hairy  the  print  is  not  clear-cut. 
When  the  rabbit  is  not  in  a  hurry  it  has  a 
peculiar  lope,  but  when  frightened  it 
makes  long  jumps.  The  cotton-tails  are 
night  wanderers  and  usually  remain  hid- 
den during  the  day.  In  summer,  they  feed 
on  clover  or  grass  or  other  juicy  herbs  and 
show  a  fondness  for  sweet  apples  and  fresh 
cabbage;  in  our  garden  last  summer  Molly 
was  very  considerate.  She  carefully  pulled 
all  the  grass  out  of  the  garden-cress  bed, 
leaving  the  salad  for  our  enjoyment.  In 
winter,  the  long,  gnawing  teeth  of  the 
cotton-tail  are  sometimes  used  to  the  dam- 
age of  fruit  trees  and  nursery  stock  since 
the  rabbits  are  obliged  to  feed  upon  bark 
in  order  to  keep  alive. 

The  long,  strong  hind  legs  and  the  long 
ears  tell  the  whole  bunny  story.  Ears  to 
hear  the  approach  of  the  enemy,  and  legs 
to  propel  the  listener  by  long  jumps  to 
a  safe  retreat.  The  attitude  of  the  ears 


is  a  good  indication  of  the  bunny's  state 
of  mind;  if  they  are  set  back  to  back  and 
directed  backward,  they  indicate  placidity, 
but  a  placidity  that  is  always  on  guard;  if 
lifted  straight  up  they  signify  attention 
and  anxiety;  if  one  is  bent  forward  and  the 
other  backward  the  meaning  is:  "Now 
just  where  did  that  sound  come  from?  " 


A  cotton-tail  rabbit 

When  the  rabbit  is  running  or  resting  in 
the  form,  the  ears  are  laid  back  along  the 
neck.  When  the  cotton-tail  stands  up  on 
its  haunches  with  both  ears  erect,  it  looks 
very  tall  indeed. 

Not  only  are  the  ears  always  alert,  but 
also  the  nose;  the  nostrils  are  partially 
covered  and  in  order  to  be  always  sure  of 
getting  every  scent  they  wabble  con- 
stantly, the  split  upper  lip  aiding  in  this 
performance;  when  the  rabbit  is  trying 
to  get  a  scent  it  moves  its  head  up  and 
down  in  a  sagacious,  apprehensive  man- 
ner. 

The  rabbit  has  an  upper  and  lower 


2l6 


ANIMALS 


Verne  Morton 

The  rabbits'  ears  are  ever  alert  for  any  sign 
of  danger 

pair  of  incisors  like  other  rodents,  but  on 
the  upper  jaw  there  is  a  short  incisor  be- 
hind each  of  the  large  teeth;  these  are  of 
no  use  now  but  are  inherited  from  some 
ancestor  which  found  them  useful.  There 
are  at  the  back  of  each  side  of  the  upper 
jaw  six  grinding  teeth,  and  five  on  each 
side  of  the  lower  jaw.  The  split  upper 
lip  allows  the  free  use  of  the  upper  in- 
cisors. The  incisors  are  not  only  used  for 
taking  the  bark  from  trees,  but  also  for 
cutting  grass  and  other  food.  The  rabbit 
has  a  funny  way  of  taking  a  stem  of  grass 
or  clover  at  the  end  and  with  much  wab- 
bling of  lips  finally  taking  it  in,  mean- 
while chewing  it  with  a  sidewise  motion 
of  the  jaws.  The  rabbit's  whiskers  are  val- 
uable as  feelers,  and  are  always  kept  on 
the  qui  vfve  for  impressions;  when  two 
cotton-tails  meet  each  other  amicably, 
they  rub  whiskers  together.  The  eyes  are 
large  and  dark  and  placed  on  the  bulge 
at  the  side  of  the  head,  so  as  to  command 
the  view  both  ways.  Probably  a  cotton- 
tail winks,  but  I  never  caught  one  in  the 
act. 

The  strong  hind  legs  of  the  rabbit  en- 
able it  to  make  prodigious  jumps,  of  eight 
feet  or  more;  this  is  a  valuable  asset  to 
an  animal  that  escapes  its  enemies  by 
running.  The  front  feet  are  short  and  can- 
not be  turned  inward  like  those  of  the 
squirrel,  to  hold  food.  There  are  five  toes 


on  the  front  feet,  and  four  on  the  hind 
feet;  the  hair  on  the  bottom  of  the  feet 
is  a  protection,  much  .needed  by  an  ani- 
mal which  sits  for  long  periods  upon  the 
snow.  When  sleeping,  the  rabbit  folds  the 
front  paws  under  and  rests  on  the  entire 
hind  foot,  with  the  knee  bent,  ready  for  a 
spring  at  the  slightest  alarm;  when  awake, 
it  rests  on  the  hind  feet  and  front  toes;  and 
when  it  wishes  to  see  if  the  coast  is  clear, 
it  rises  on  its  hind  feet,  with  front  paws 
drooping. 

The  cotton-tail  has  a  color  well  calcu- 
lated to  protect  it  from  observation;  it  is 
brownish-gray  on  the  back  and  a  little 
lighter  along  the  sides,  grayish  under  the 
chin  and  whitish  below;  the  ears  are  edged 
with  black,  and  the  tail  when  raised  shows 
a  large,  white  fluff  at  the  rear.  The  gen- 
eral color  of  the  rabbit  fits  in  with  nat- 
ural surroundings;  since  the  cotton-tail 
often  escapes  its  enemies  by  "  freezing," 
this  color  makes  the  scheme  work  well, 
I  once  saw  a  marsh  hare,  on  a  stone  in 
a  brook,  "  freezing  "  most  successfully.  I 
could  hardly  believe  that  a  living  thing 
could  seem  so  much  like  a  stone;  only  its 
bright  eyes  revealed  it  to  us. 

The  rabbit  cleans  itself  in  amusing 
ways.  It  shakes  its  feet  one  at  a  time 
with  great  vigor  and  rapidity  to  get  off 
the  dirt  and  then  licks  them  clean.  It 
washes  its  face  with  both  front  paws  at 
once.  It  scratches  its  ear  with  the  hind 
foot,  and  pushes  it  forward  so  that  it  can 
be  licked;  it  takes  hold  of  its  fur  with  its 
front  feet  to  pull  it  around  within  reach 
of  the  tongue. 

The  cotton-tail  does  not  dig  a  burrow, 


A  Dutch  rabbit  and  Belgian  hares 


MAMMALS 


217 


but  sometimes  occupies  the  deserted  bur- 
row of  a  woodchuck  or  skunk.  Its  nest 
is  called  a  "  form/'  which  simply  means 
a  place  beneath  a  cover  of  grass  or  briars, 
where  the  grass  is  beaten  down  or  eaten 
out  for  a  space  large  enough  for  the  ani- 
mal to  sit.  The  mother  prepares  a  shal- 
low excavation  in  which  she  makes  a  soft 
bed  for  the  young,  using  grass  and  her 
own  hair  for  the  purpose;  and  she  con- 
structs a  coarse  felted  coverlet,  under 
which  she  tucks  her  babies  with  care 
every  time  she  leaves  them.  Young  rab- 
bits are  blind  at  first,  but  when  about 
three  weeks  old  are  sufficiently  grown  to 
run  quite  rapidly.  Although  there  may  be 
five  or  six  in  a  litter,  yet  there  are  so  many 
enemies  that  only  a  few  escape. 

Fox,  mink,  weasel,  hawk,  owl,  snake, 
and  occasionally  red  squirrel  all  relish  the 
young  cotton-tail  if  they  can  get  it.  Noth- 
ing but  its  runways  through  the  briars  can 
save  it.  These  roads  wind  in  and  out  and 
across,  twisting  and  turning  perplexingly; 
they  are  made  by  cutting  off  the  grass 
stems,  and  are  just  wide  enough  for  the 
rabbit's  body.  However,  a  rabbit  has 
weapons  and  can  fight  if  necessary;  it  leaps 
over  its  enemy,  kicking  it  on  the  back 
fiercely  with  its  great  hind  feet.  Mr.  Seton 
tells  of  this  way  of  conquering  the  black 
snake,  and  Mr.  Sharp  saw  a  cat  completely 
vanquished  by  the  same  method.  Mr.  E. 
W.  Cleeves  told  me  of  a  Belgian  doe 
which  showed  her  enmity  to  cats  in  a 
peculiar  way.  She  would  run  after  any  cats 
that  came  in  sight,  butting  them  like  a  billy 
goat.  The  cats  soon  learned  her  tricks,  and 
would  climb  a  tree  as  soon  as  they  caught 
sight  of  her.  The  rabbit  can  also  bite,  and 
when  two  males  are  fighting,  they  bite 
each  other  savagely.  The  rabbit's  sound  of 
defiance  is  thumping  the  ground  with  the 
strong  hind  foot.  Some  have  declared  that 
the  front  feet  are  used  also  for  stamping; 
although  I  have  heard  this  indignant 
thumping  more  than  once,  I  could  not  see 
the  process.  The  cotton-tail  and  the  com- 
mon domestic  rabbit  are  true  rabbits.  The 
jack  rabbit  is  a  true  hare. 

Not  the  least  of  tributes  to  the  rabbit's 
sagacity  are  the  Negro  folk  stories  told 


"by  Uncle  Remus,  wherein  Brer  Rabbit, 
although  often  in  trouble,  is  really  the 
most  clever  of  all  the  animals.  I  have 
often  thought  when  I  have  seen  the  tac- 
tics which  rabbits  have  adopted  to  escape 
dogs,  that  we  in  the  North  have  under- 
rated the  cleverness  of  this  timid  animal. 
In  one  instance  at  least  that  came  under 
our  observation,  a  cotton-tail  led  a  dog 
to  the  verge  of  a  precipice,  then  doubled 


Rabbits  playing  in  the  moonlight 

back  to  safety,  while  the  dog  went  over, 
landing  on  the  rocks  nearly  three  hundred 
feet  below. 

An  interesting  relative  of  the  cotton- 
tail is  the  varying  hare  or  snow-shoe  rabbit 
that  lives  in  the  wooded  regions  of  north- 
eastern North  America.  Of  all  animals  he 
is  one  of  the  most  defenseless;  foxes, 
mink,  and  other  flesh-eating  inhabitants 
of  the  woods  find  him  an  easy  prey.  He  has 
not  even  a  burrow  to  flee  to  when  pur- 
sued by  his  enemies. 

He  passes  the  day  half  asleep  and  mo- 
tionless beneath  the  sheltering  branches 
of  a  low  fir  tree  or  in  a  dense  thicket.  With 
the  coming  of  night  he  starts  off  in  search 
of  food. 

He  has  one  important  advantage  over 
his  enemies:  twice  each  year  his  heavy 
coat  of  fur  is  shed.  In  the  summer  the 
coat  is  a  reddish  brown  that  so  blends 
with  his  surroundings  that  he  is  hardly 
noticeable;  in  the  winter  it  is  perfectly 


2l8 


ANIMALS 


white  so  that  against  a  background  of 
snow  he  is  nearly  invisible. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Farm  Animals, 
by  James  G.  Lawson;  Holiday  Hill,  by 
Edith  M.  Patch;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Trox- 
ell,  Book  i,  Baby  Animals;  The  Museum 
Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack 
and  William  P.  Alexander;  Our  Backdoor 
Neighbors,  by  Frank  C.  Pellett;  The  Pet 
Boole,  by  Anna  B.  Cornstock;  Wild  Ani- 
mals I  Have  Known,  or  Lobor  Rag  and 
Vixen,  both  by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton; 
also,  readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  53 
THE  COTTON-TAIL  RABBIT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  cotton-tail 
thrives  amid  civilization;  its  color  protects 
it  from  sight;  its  long  ears  give  it  warning 
of  the  approach  of  danger;  and  its  long 
legs  enable  it  to  run  by  swift,  long  leaps. 
It  feeds  upon  grasses,  clover,  vegetables, 
and  other  herbs. 

METHOD  —  This  study  may  be  begun 
in  the  winter,  when  the  rabbit  tracks  can 
be  observed  and  the  haunts  of  the  cotton- 
tail  discovered.  If  caught  in  a  box  trap, 
the  cotton-tail  will  become  tame  if  prop- 
erly fed  and  cared  for,  and  may  thus  be 
studied  at  close  range.  The  cage  I  have 
used  for  rabbits  thus  caught  is  made  of 
wire  screen  nailed  to  a  frame,  making  a 
wire-covered  box  two  feet  high  and  two  or 
three  feet  square,  with  a  door  at  one  side 
and  no  bottom.  It  should  be  placed  upon 
oilcloth  or  linoleum,  and  thus  may  be 
moved  to  another  carpet  when  the  floor 
needs  cleaning.  If  it  is  impossible  to  study 
the  cotton-tail,  the  domestic  rabbit  may 
be  used  instead. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  What  sort  of  tracks 
does  the  cotton-tail  make  in  the  snow? 
Describe  and  sketch  them.  Where  do  you 
find  these  tracks?  How  do  you  know 
which  way  the  rabbit  was  going?  Follow 
the  track  and  see  if  you  can  find  where 
the  rabbit  went.  When  were  these  tracks 
made,  by  night  or  by  day?  What  does 
the  rabbit  do  during  the  day?  What  does 
it  find  to  eat  during  the  winter?  How  are 


its  feet  protected  so  that  they  do  not 
freeze  in  the  snow? 

2.  What  are  the  two  most  noticeable 
peculiarities  of  the  rabbit?  Of  what  use 
are  such  large  ears?  How  are  the  ears  held 
when  the  rabbit  is  resting?  When  star- 
tled? When  not  quite  certain  about  the 
direction  of  the  noise?  Explain  the  rea- 
sons for  these  attitudes.  When  the  rabbit 
wishes  to  make  an  observation  to  see  if 
there  is  danger  coming,  what  does  it  do? 
How  does  it  hold  its  ears  then?  How  are 
the  ears  held  when  the  animal  is  running? 

3.  Do  you  think  the  rabbit  has  a  keen 
sense  of  smell?  Describe  the  movements 
of  the  nostrils  and  explain  the  reason. 
How  does  it  move  its  head  to  be  sure  of 
getting  the  scent? 

4.  What  peculiarity  is  there  in  the  up- 
per lip?  How  would  this  be  an  aid  to  the 
rabbit  when  gnawing?  Describe  the  teeth: 
how  do  these  differ  from  those  of  the 
mouse  or  squirrel?  Of  what  advantage  are 
the  gnawing  teeth  to  the  rabbit?  How 
does  it  eat  a  stem  of  grass?  Note  the  rab- 
bit's whiskers.  What  do  you  think  they 
are  used  for? 

5.  Describe  the  eyes.  How  are  they 
placed  so  that  the  rabbit  can  see  forward 
and  backward?  Do  you  think  that  it  sleeps 
with  its  eyes  open?  Does  it  wink? 

6.  Why  is  it  advantageous  to  the  rab- 
bit to  have  such  long,  strong  hind  legs? 
Compare  them  in  size  with  the  front  legs. 
Compare  the  front  and  hind  feet.  How 
many  toes  on  each?  How  are  the  bottoms 
of  the  feet  protected?  Are  the  front  feet 
ever  used  for  holding  food  like  the  squir- 
rel's? In  what  position  are  the  legs  when 
the  rabbit  is  resting?  When  it  is  standing? 
When  it  is  lifted  up  for  observation? 

7.  How  does  the  cotton-tail  escape  be- 
ing seen?  Describe  its  coat.  Of  what  use  is 
the  white  fluff  beneath  the  tail?  Have  you 
ever  seen  a  wild  rabbit  "  freeze  "?  What 
is  meant  by  "  freezing  "  and  what  is  the 
use  of  it? 

8.  In  making  its  toilet  how  does  the 
rabbit  clean  its  face,  ears,  feet,  and  fur? 

9.  What  do  the  cotton-tails  feed  upon 
during  the  summer?  During  the  winter? 
Do  they  ever  do  much  damage? 


MAMMALS 


2,19 


10.  Describe    the    cotton-tail's     nest. 
What  is  it  called?  Does  it  ever  burrow  in 
the  ground?  Does  it  ever  use  a  second- 
hand burrow?  Describe  the  nest  made  for 
the  young  by  the  mother.  Of  what  is  the 
bed  composed?  Of  what  is  the  coverlet 
made?  What  is  the  special  use  of  the 
coverlet?  How  do  the  young  cotton-tails 
look?  How  old  are  they  before  they  are 
able  to  take  care  of  themselves? 

11.  What  are  the  cotton-tail's  enemies? 
How  does  it  escape  them?  Have  you  ever 
seen  the  rabbit  roads  in  a  briar-patch? 
Do  you  think  that  a  dog  or  fox  could  fol- 
low them?  Do  rabbits  ever  fight  their  ene- 


mies? If  so,  how?  How  do  they  show 
anger?  Do  they  stamp  with  the  front  or 
the  hind  foot? 

12.  Tell  how  the  cotton-tail  differs  in 
looks  and  habits  from  the  common  tame 
rabbit.  How  do  the  latter  dig  their  bur- 
rows? How  many  breeds  of  tame  rabbits 
do  you  kno\v? 

13.  Write  or  tell  stories  on  the  follow- 
ing  topics:    "  A    Cotton-tail's    Story    of 
Its  Own  Life  until  It  Is  a  Year  Old  "; 
"  The  Jack  Rabbit  of  the  West ";  "  The 
Habits  of  the  White  Rabbit  or  Varying 
Hare ";  "  The  Rabbit  in  Uncle  Remus' 
Tales/' 


Silas  Lottridge 


Winter  lodge  of  muskrats 

THE  MUSKRAT 

Having  finished  this  first  course  of  big-neclc  clams,  they  were  joined  by  a  third 
muskrat,  and,  together,  they  filed  over  the  bank  and  down  into  the  meadow.  Shortly 
two  of  them  returned  with  great  mouthfuls  of  the  mud-bleached  ends  of  calamus- 
blades.  Then  followed  the  washing. 

They  dropped  their  loads  upon  the  plank,  took  up  the  stalks,  pulled  the  blades  apart, 
and  soused  them  up  and  down  in  the  water,  rubbing  them  with  their  paws  until  they 
were  as  clean  and  white  as  the  whitest  celery  one  ever  ate.  What  a  dainty  picture/ 
Two  little  brown  creatures,  humped  on  the  edge  of  a  plank,  washing  calamus  in 
moonlit  water/  —  DALLAS  LORE  SHARP 


Tracking  is  a  part  of  the  education  of 
every  boy  who  aspires  to  a  knowledge  of 
wood  lore;  and  a  boy  with  this  accom- 


plishment is  sure  to  be  looked  upon  with 
great  admiration  by  other  boys  less 
skilled  in  the  interpretation  of  that  writ- 


220 


ANIMALS 


The  Muskrat 


Silas  Lottridge 


ing  made  by  small  feet  on  the  soft  snow 
or  on  the  mud  of  stream  margins.  To 
such  a  boy,  the  track  of  the  muskrat  is 
well  known  and  very  easily  recognized. 

The  muskrat  is  essentially  a  water  ani- 
mal, and  therefore  its  tracks  are  to  be 
looked  for  along  the  edges  of  ponds, 
streams,  or  in  marshes.  Whether  the 
tracks  are  made  by  walking  or  jumping 
depends  upon  the  depth  of  the  snow  or 
mud;  if  it  is  deep,  the  animal  jumps,  but 
in  shallow  snow  or  mud  it  simply  runs 
along.  The  tracks  show  the  front  feet  to 
be  smaller  than  the  hind  ones.  The  musk- 
rat  track  is,  however,  characterized  by  the 
tail  imprint.  When  the  creature  jumps 
through  the  snow,  the  mark  of  the  tail 
follows  the  paired  imprints  of  the  feet; 
when  it  walks,  there  is  a  continuous  line 
made  by  this  strong,  naked  tail.  This  dis- 
tinguishes the  track  of  the  muskrat  from 
that  of  the  mink,  as  the  bushy  tail  of  the 
latter  does  not  make  so  distinct  a  mark. 
Furthermore  the  claws  of  the  feet  show 
distinctly  in  a  muskrat  track;  those  of 
the  mink  do  not.  Measuring  the  track  is 
a  simple  device  for  making  the  pupils 
note  its  size  and  shape  more  carefully. 
The  tracks  may  be  looked  for  during  the 
thaws  of  March  or  February,  when  the 


muskrats  come  out  of  the  water  to  seek 
food. 

In  appearance  the  muskrat  is  peculiar. 
The  body  is  usually  about  a  foot  in  length 
and  the  tail  about  eight  inches.  The  body 
is  stout  and  thickset,  the  head  is  rounded 
and  looks  like  that  of  a  giant  meadow 
mouse;  the  eyes  are  black  and  shining; 
the  ears  are  short  and  close  to  the  head; 
the  teeth,  like  those  of  other  rodents, 
consist  of  a  pair  of  front  teeth  on  each 
jaw,  then  a  long,  bare  space,  and  then  four 
grinders  on  each  side.  There  are  long 
sensitive  hairs  about  the  nose  and  mouth, 
like  the  whiskers  of  mice. 

The  muskrat's  hind  legs  are  much 
larger  and  stronger  than  the  front  ones; 
the  hind  feet  are  likewise  much  longer 
than  the  front  feet  and  have  a  web  be- 
tween the  toes;  there  are  also  stiff  hairs 
which  fill  the  space  between  the  toes 
outside  the  web,  thus  making  this  large 
hind  foot  an  excellent  swimming  organ. 
The  front  toes  are  not  webbed  and  are 
used  for  digging.  The  claws  are  long,  stout, 
and  sharp.  The  tail  is  long,  stout,  and  flat- 
tened at  the  sides;  it  has  little  or  no  fur 
upon  it  but  is  covered  with  scales;  it  is 
used  as  a  scull  and  also  as  a  rudder  when 
the  muskrat  is  swimming. 

The  muskrat' s  outer  coat  consists  of 
long,  rather  coarse  hairs;  its  under  coat 
is  of  fur,  very  thick  and  fine,  and  although 
short,  it  forms  a  waterproof  protection  for 
the  body  of  the  animal.  In  color,  the  fur 
is  dark  brown  above  with  a  darker  streak 
along  the  middle  of  the  back;  beneath, 
the  body  is  grayish,  changing  to  whitish 
on  the  throat  and  lips,  with  a  brown  spot 
on  the  chin.  In  preparing  the  pelts  for 
commercial  use,  the  long  hairs  are  some- 


A  muskrat' s  summer   home,   drawn   by  A. 
MacKinnon,  a  boy  of  thirteen  years 


MAMMALS 


221 


times  plucked  out  leaving  the  soft,  fine 
under  coat,  which  is  often  dyed  black 
and  sold  under  the  name  of ""  Hudson 
seal/' 

The  muskrat  is  far  better  fitted  by  form 
for  life  in  the  water  than  upon  the  land. 
Since  it  is  heavy-bodied  and  short-legged 
it  cannot  run  rapidly,  but  its  strong, 
webbed  hind  feet  are  most  efficient  oars, 
and  it  swims  rapidly  and  easily;  for  rud- 
der and  propeller  the  strong,  flattened 
tail  serves  admirably,  while  the  fine  fur 
next  the  body  is  so  perfectly  waterproof 
that,  however  much  the  muskrat  swims 
or  dives,  it  is  never  wet.  It  is  a  skillful 
diver  and  can  stay  under  water  for  several 
minutes;  when  swimming,  its  nose  and 
sometimes  the  head  and  the  tip  of  the 
tail  appear  on  the  surface  of  the  water. 

The  food  of  muskrats  is  largely  roots, 
especially  those  of  the  sweet  flag  and  the 
yellow  lily.  Muskrats  also  feed  on  other 
aquatic  plants  and  are  fond  of  the  fresh- 
water shell-fish.  Mr.  Sharp  tells  us,  in  one 
of  his  delightful  stories,  how  the  musk- 
rats  wash  their  food  by  sousing  it  up  and 
down  in  water  many  times  before  eating 
it.  Often,  a  muskrat  chooses  some  special 
place  upon  the  shore  which  it  uses  for  a 
dining  room,  bringing  there  and  eating 
pieces  of  lily  root  or  fresh-water  clams, 
and  leaving  the  debris  to  show  where  it 
habitually  dines.  It  does  most  of  its  hunt- 
ing for  food  at  night,  although  sometimes 


Frank  H.  Steinicke 


A  beaver  lodge  in  winter.  In  the  foreground 
is  the  "  air  hole!3  In  general  this  home  looks 
like  that  of  the  muskrat,  but  it  is  larger  and  is 
made  of  coarser  materials 


National  Parks  Bureau,  Dominion  of  Canada 

Adult  Beaver.  The  habits  of  beavers  some- 
what resemble  those  of  muskrats.  Beavers 
may  weigh  from  40  to  60  pounds  and  reach 
a  length  of  40  inches.  In  North  America  they 
range  from  Hudson  Bay  and  Alaska  south 
into  Mexico  in  the  West  and  the  southern 
Alleghenies  in  the  East 

it  may  be  seen  thus  employed  during  the 
day. 

The  winter  lodge  of  the  muskrat  is  a 
most  interesting  structure.  A  foundation 
of  tussocks  of  rushes,  in  a  stream  or  shal- 
low pond,  is  built  upon  with  reeds,  mak- 
ing a  rather  regular  dome  which  may  be 
nearly  two  or  three  feet  high;  or,  if  many- 
chambered,  it  may  be  a  grand  affair  of 
four  or  five  feet  elevation;  but  it  always 
looks  so  much  like  a  natural  hummock 
that  the  eye  of  the  uninitiated  never  re- 
gards it  as  a  habitation.  Beneath  this 
dome  and  above  the  water  line  is  a  snug, 
covered  chamber  carpeted  with  a  soft  bed 
of  leaves  and  moss,  which  has  a  passage 
leading  down  into  the  water  below,  and 
in  some  instances  an  air-hole.  In  these 
cabins,  closely  cuddled  together,  three  or 
four  in  a  chamber,  the  muskrats  pass  the 
winter.  After  the  pond  is  frozen  they  are 
safe  from  their  enemies  except  the  mink 
and  are  always  able  to  go  down  into  the 
water  and  feed  upon  the  roots  of  water 
plants.  These  cabins  are  sometimes  built 
in  the  low,  drooping  branches  of  willows 
or  on  other  objects. 

Whether  the  muskrat  builds  itself  a 
winter  lodge  or  not  depends  upon  the 
nature  of  the  shore  which  it  inhabits;  if 
it  is  a  place  particularly  Stted  for  burrows, 
then  a  burrow  will  be  used  as  a  winter 


222  ANIMALS 

retreat;  but  if  the  banks  are  shallow,  the 
muskrats  unite  in  building  cabins.  The 
main  entrance  to  the  muskrat  burrow  is 
usually  below  the  surface  of  the  water, 
the  burrow  slanting  upward  and  leading 
to  a  nest  well  lined,  which  is  above  the 
reach  of  high  water;  there  is  also  often  a 


National  Parks  Bureau,  Dominion  of  Canada 

Young  beavers  feeding  in  the  shallow  water 
near  the  lower  edge  of  a  beaver  dam 

passage,  with  a  hidden  entrance,  leading 
out  to  dry  land. 

The  flesh  of  the  muskrat  is  delicious, 
and  therefore  the  animal  has  many  ene- 
mies; foxes,  weasels,  dogs,  minks,  and  also 
hawks  and  owls  prey  upon  it.  It  is,  in- 
deed, a  good  human  food.  It  escapes  the 
sight  of  its  enemies  as  does  the  mouse, 
by  having  inconspicuous  fur;  when  dis- 
covered, it  escapes  its  enemies  by  swim- 
ming, although  when  cornered  it  is  cou- 
rageous and  fights  fiercely,  using  its  strong 
incisors  as  weapons.  In  winter,  it  dwells 
in  safety  when  the  friendly  ice  protects 
it  from  all  its  enemies  except  the  mink; 
but  it  is  exposed  to  great  danger  when 
the  streams  break  up  in  spring,  for  it  is 
then  often  driven  from  its  cabin  by  floods, 
and  preyed  upon  while  thus  helplessly 
exposed. 

It  is  called  muskrat  because  of  the  odor, 
somewhat  resembling  musk,  which  it  ex- 
cretes from  two  glands  on  the  lower  side 
of  -the  body  between  the  hind  legs;  these 
glands  may  be  seen  when  the  skin  is  re- 


moved, which  is  the  too  common  plight 
of  this  poor  creature,  since  it  is  hunted 
mercilessly  for  its  pelt. 

The  little  muskrats  are  bom  in  April 
and  there  are  usually  from  three  to  seven 
in  a  litter.  Another  litter  may  be  produced 
in  June  or  July  and  a  third  in  August  or 
September.  It  is  only  thus,  by  rearing 
large  families  often,  that  the  muskrats  are 
able  to  hold  their  own  against  the  hunters 
and  trappers  and  their  natural  enemies. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Beaver:  Its 
Worlc  and  Its  Ways,  by  Edward  R.  War- 
ren; Beaver  Pioneers,  by  Wendell  and 
Lucie  Chapman;  The  Fall  of  the  Year, 
and  Winter,  both  by  Dallas  L.  Sharp;  also, 
readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  54 
THE  MUSKRAT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  -—  The  muskrat, 
while  a  true  rodent,  is  fitted  for  life  in 
the  water  more  than  for  life  upon  the 
land.  Its  hind  feet  are  webbed  for  use  as 
oars  and  its  tail  is  used  as  a  rudder.  It 
builds  lodges  of  cattails  and  rushes  in 
which  it  spends  the  winter. 

METHOD  —  It  might  be  well  to  begin 
this  work  by  asking  for  observations  on 
the  tracks  of  the  muskrat  which  may  be 
found  about  the  edges  of  almost  any 
creek,  pond,  or  marsh.  If  there  are  musk- 
rat  lodges  in  the  region  they  should  be 
visited  and  described.  For  studying  the 
muskrat's  form  a  live  muskrat  in  captivity 
is  almost  necessary.  The  pupils  can  thus 
study  it  at  leisure  although  they  should 
not  be  allowed  to  handle  the  creature  as 
it  inflicts  very  severe  wounds  and  is  never 
willing  to  be  handled.  If  a  live  muskrat 
cannot  be  obtained,  perhaps  some  hunter 
in  the  neighborhood  will  supply  a  dead 
one  for  this  observation  lesson. 

While  studying  the  muskrat  the  chil- 
dren should  read  all  the  stories  of  beavers 
which  are  available,  as  the  two  animals 
are  very  much  alike  in  their  habits. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  In  what  locality 
have  you  discovered  the  tracks  of  the 
muskrat?  Describe  its  general  appearance. 
Measure  the  muskrat's  track  as  follows: 


MAMMALS 


223 


(a)  width  and  length  of  the  print  of  one 
foot;  (b)  the  width  between  the  prints 
of  the  two  hind  feet;  (c)  the  length  be- 
tween the  prints  made  by  the  hind  feet  in 
several  successive  steps  or  jumps. 

2.  Was  the  muskrafs  track  made  when 
the  animal  was  jumping  or  walking?  Can 
you  see  in  it  a  difference  in  the  size  of 
the  front  and  hind  feet?  Judging  from 
the  track,  where  do  you  think  the  musk- 
rat  came  from?  What  do  you  think  it  was 
hunting  for? 

3.  What  mark  does  the  tail  make  in 
the  snow  or  mud?  Judging  by  its  imprint, 
should  you  think  the  niuskraf  s  tail  was 
long  or  short,  bare  or  brushy,  slender  or 
stout? 

4.  How  long  is  the  largest  muskrat  you 
'3ver  saw?  How  much  of  the  whole  length 
is  tail?  Is  the  general  shape  of  the  body 
short  and  heavy  or  long  and  slender? 

5.  Describe  the  muskrat7  s  eyes,  ears, 
and  teeth.  For  what  are  the  teeth  espe- 
cially fitted?  Has  the  muskrat  whiskers 
like  mice  and  rats? 

6.  Compare  the  front  and  hind  legs  as 
to  size  and  shape.  Is  there  a  web  between 
the  toes  of  the  hind  feet?  What  does 
this   indicate?   Do   you   think   that   the 
muskrat  is  a  good  swimmer? 

7.  Describe  the  muskrat  fur.  Compare 
the  outer  and  under  coat.  What  is  its 
color  above  and  below?  What  is  the  name 
of  muskrat  fur  in  the  shops? 

8.  Describe  the  tail.  What  is  its  cover- 
ing? How  is  it  flattened?  What  do  you 
think  this  strong,  flattened  tail  is  used 
for? 

9.  Do  you  think  the  muskrat  is  better 
fitted  to  live  in  the  water  than  on  land? 
How  is  it  fitted  to  live  in  the  water  in  the 
following  particulars:  Feet?  Tail?  Fur? 

10.  How  much  of  the  muskrat  can  you 
see  when  it  is  swimming?  How  long  can 
it  stay  under  water  when  diving? 

11.  What  is  the  food  of  the  muskrat? 
Where  does  it  find  it?  How  does  it  pre- 
pare the  food  for  eating?  Does  it  seek 
its  food  during  the  night  or  day?  Have  you 
ever  observed  the  muskraf  s  dining  room? 
If  so,  describe  it. 

12.  Describe  the  structure  of  the  musk- 


rat's  winter  lodge,  or  cabin,  in  the  follow- 
ing particulars:  What  is  its  size?  Where 
built?  Of  what  material?  How  many 
rooms  in  it?  Are  these  rooms  above  or  be- 
low the  water  level?  Of  what  is  the  bed 
made?  How  is  it  arranged  so  that  the  en- 
trance is  not  closed  by  the  ice?  Is  such  a 
home  built  by  one  or  more  muskrats?  How 
many  live  within  it?  Do  the  muskrats  al- 
ways build  these  winter  cabins?  What  is 
the  character  of  the  shores  where  they  are 
built? 

13.  Describe  the  muskrat's  burrow  in 
the  bank  in  the  following  particulars:  Is 
the    entrance    above    or    below    water? 
Where  and  how  is  the  nest  made?  Is  it 
ventilated?  Does  it  have  a  back  door  lead- 
ing out  upon  the  land? 

14.  What  are  the  muskrat's  enemies? 
How  does  it  escape  them?  How  does  it 
fight?  Is  it  a  courageous  animal?  How  does 
the  muskrat  give  warning  to  its  fellows 
when  it  perceives  danger?  At  what  time 
of  year  is  it  comparatively  safe?  At  what 
time  is  it  exposed  to  greatest  danger? 

15.  Why  is  this  animal  called  muskrat? 
Compare  the  habits   of  muskrats  with 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Trees  felled  by  beavers.  Unlike  muskrats, 
beavers  fell  trees.  They  have  cut  these  birches 
either  to  use  the  bark  for  food  or  the  trunks 
jor  reinforcement  of  a  dam.  In  the  back- 
ground, note  the  area  covered  by  water  held 
by  a  beaver  dam 

those  of  beavers  and  write  an  English 
theme  upon  the  similarity  of  the  two. 

16.  At  what  time  of  year  do  you  find 
the  young  muskrats?  How  many  in  a 
litter? 


ANIMALS 


Nature  Photography  around  the  Year,  Percy  A.  Morris, 
©  D.  Appleton-Century  Co.,  Inc. 


THE  HOUSE  MOUSE 

Somewhere  in  the  darkness  a  clock  strikes  two; 
And  there  is  no  sound  in  the  sad  old  house, 
But  the  long  veranda  dripping  with  dew, 
And  in  the  wainscot  —  a  mouse.  —  BRET  HARTE 


Were  mouse-gray  a  less  inconspicuous 
color,  there  would  be  fewer  mice;  when 
a  mouse  is  running  along  the  floor,  it  is 
hardly  discernible,  it  looks  so  like  a  flit- 
ting shadow;  if  it  were  black  or  white  or 
any  other  color,  it  would  be  more  often 
seen  and  destroyed.  It  has  been  very 
closely  associated  with  man;  as  a  result 
of  this  fact  the  species  has  been  able  to 
spread  over  the  world. 

At  first  glance  one  wonders  what  pos- 
sible use  a  mouse  can  make  of  a  tail  which 
is  as  long  as  its  body,  but  a  little  careful 
observation  will  reveal  the  secret.  The  tail 
is  covered  with  transverse  ridges  and  is 
bare  save  for  sparse  hairs,  except  toward 
the  tip.  Dr.  Ida  Revel ey  first  called  my 
attention  to  the  fact  that  the  house  mouse 
uses  its  tail  in  climbing.  I  verified  this  in- 
teresting observation,  and  found  that  my 


mouse  used  the  tail  for  aid  when  climbing 
a  string.  He  would  go  up  the  string  hand 
over  hand  like  a  sailor,  and  then  in  trying 
to  stretch  to  the  edge  of  his  jar,  he  in- 
variably wound  his  tail  about  the  string 
two  or  three  times,  and  hanging  to  the 
string  with  the  hind  feet  and  tail,  would 
reach  far  out  with  his  head  and  front  feet. 
Also,  when  clinging  to  the  edge  of  the 
cover  of  the  jar,  he  invariably  used  his 
tail  as  a  brace  against  the  side  of  the  glass, 
so  that  it  pressed  hard  for  more  than  half 
its  length.  Undoubtedly  the  tail  is  of  great 
service  in  climbing  up  the  sides  of  walls. 
The  tail  is  also  of  some  use  when  the 
mouse  jumps  directly  upward.  The  hind 
legs  are  very  much  longer  and  stronger 
than  the  front  legs.  The  hind  feet  are  also 
much  longer  and  larger  than  the  front 
feet;  and  although  the  mouse,  when  it 


MAMMALS 


225 


makes  its  remarkable  jumps,  depends 
upon  its  strong  hind  legs,  I  am  sure  that 
often  the  tail  is  used  as  a  brace  to  guide 
and  assist  the  leap.  The  feet  are  free  from 
hairs  but  are  downy;  the  hind  foot  has 
three  front  toes,  a  long  toe  behind  on  the 
outside  and  a  short  one  on  the  inside. 
The  claws  are  fairly  long  and  very  sharp 
so  that  they  are  able  to  cling  to  almost 
anything  but  glass.  When  exploring,  a 
mouse  stands  on  its  hind  feet,  folding  its 
little  front  paws  under  its  chin  while  it 
reaches  up  ready  to  catch  anything  in 
sight;  it  can  stretch  up  to  an  amazing 
height.  It  feeds  upon  almost  anything  that 
people  like  to  eat  and,  when  eating,  fre- 
quently holds  its  food  in  its  front  paws 
like  a  squirrel. 

The  thin,  velvety  ears  are  flaring  cornu- 
copias for  taking  in  sound;  the  large, 
rounded  outer  ear  can  be  moved  forward 
or  back  to  test  the  direction  of  the  noise. 
The  eyes  are  like  shining,  black  beads; 
and  if  a  mouse  can  wink,  it  does  it  so 
rapidly  as  not  to  be  discernible.  The  nose 
is  long,  inquisitive,  and  always  sniffing 
for  new  impressions.  The  whiskers  are 
delicate  and  probably  sensitive.  The 
mouth  is  furnished  with  two  long,  curved 
gnawing  teeth  at  the  front  of  each  jaw, 
then  a  bare  space,  and  then  four  grinding 
teeth  on  each  side,  above  and  below,  like 
the  teeth  of  woodchucks  and  other  ro- 
dents. The  gnawing  teeth  are  very  strong 
and  enable  the  mouse  to  gnaw  through 
board  partitions  and  other  obstacles. 

The  energy  with  which  the  mouse 
cleans  itself  is  inspiring  to  behold.  It 
nibbles  its  fur  and  licks  it  with  fervor, 
reaching  around  so  as  to  get  at  it  from 
behind,  and  taking  hold  with  its  little 
hands  to  hold  firm  while  it  cleans.  When 
washing  its  face  and  head,  it  uses  both 
front  feet,  licking  them  clean  and  rub- 
bing them  both  simultaneously  from  be- 
hind the  ears  down  over  the  face.  It  takes 
its  hind  foot  in  both  front  feet  and  nib- 
bles and  licks  it.  It  scratches  the  back  of 
its  head  with  its  hind  foot. 

Young  mice  are  small,  downy,  pink,  and 
blind  when  born.  The  mother  makes  for 
them  a  nice,  soft  nest  of  pieces  of  cloth, 


paper,  grass,  or  whatever  is  at  hand;  the 
nest  is  round  like  a  ball  and  at  its  center 
is  nestled  the  family.  Mice  living  in 
houses  have  runways  between  the  plaster 
and  the  outside  wall,  or  between  ceiling 
and  floor.  In  winter  they  live  on  what 
food  they  can  find,  and  upon  flies  or  other 
insects  hibernating  in  our  houses.  The 
house  mice  sometimes  live  under  stacks 
of  corn  or  grain  in  the  fields,  but  usually 
confine  themselves  to  houses  or  barns. 


Verne  Morton 

Young  field  mice,  blind,  pink,  and  hairless 

They  are  thirsty  little  fellows  and  they 
like  to  make  their  nests  within  easy  reach 
of  water. 

Our  house  mice  came  from  ancestors 
which  lived  in  Asia  originally;  they  have 
always  been  great  travelers  and  they  have 
followed  men  wherever  they  have  gone, 
over  the  world.  They  came  to  America  on 
ships  with  the  first  explorers  and  the  Pil- 
grim fathers.  They  now  travel  back  and 
forth,  crossing  the  ocean  in  ships  of  all 
sorts.  They  also  travel  across  the  continent 
on  trains.  Wherever  our  food  is  carried 
they  go;  and  the  mouse  which  you  see  in 
your  room  one  day  may  be  a  thousand 
miles  away  within  a  week.  They  are  clever 
creatures,  and  learn  quickly  to  connect 
cause  and  effect.  For  two  years  I  was  in  an 
office  in  Washington,  and  while  there  I 
observed  that  as  soon  as  the  bell  rang  for 
noon,  the  mice  would  appear  instantly, 
hunting  wastebaskets  for  scraps  of  lunch. 
They  had  learned  to  connect  the  sound  of 
the  bell  with  food. 


226 


ANIMALS 


Anna  Stryke 

A  white-footed  or  deer  mouse  may  use  an 
old  bird's  nest  for  its  home 

Of  all  our  wild  mice,  the  white-footed 
or  deer  mouse  is  the  most  interesting 
and  attractive.  It  is  found  almost  exclu- 
sively in  woods  and  is  quite  different  in 
appearance  from  other  mice.  Its  ears  are 
very  large;  its  fur  is  fine  and  beautiful  and 
a  most  delicate  gray  in  color.  It  is  white 
beneath  the  head  and  under  the  sides  of 
the  body.  The  feet  are  pinkish,  the  front 
paws  have  short  thumbs,  while  the  hind 
feet  are  very  much  longer  and  have  a  long 
thumb  which  looks  like  an  elfin  hand  in 
a  gray-white  silk  glove.  On  the  bottom  of 
the  feet  are  callous  spots  which  are  pink 
and  serve  as  foot  pads.  This  mouse  makes 
its  nest  in  hollow  trees  and  stores  nuts 
for  winter  use.  We  once  found  two  quarts 
of  shelled  beechnuts  in  such  a  nest.  It 
also  likes  the  hips  of  the  wild  rose  and 
many  kinds  of  berries;  it  sometimes  makes 
its  home  in  a  bird's  nest,  which  it  roofs 
over  to  suit  itself.  The  young  mice  are 
usually  carried  in  the  mother's  mouth, 
one  at  a  time.  As  an  inhabitant  of  sum- 
mer cottages,  white-foot  is  cunning  and 
mischievous;  it  pulls  cotton  out  of  quilts, 
takes  covers  from  jars,  and  as  an  explorer 
is  equal  to  the  squirrel.  I  once  tried  to 
rear  some  young  deer  mice  by  feeding 
them  warm  milk  with  a  pipette;  although 
their  eyes  were  not  open,  they  invariably 
washed  their  faces  after  each  meal,  show- 
ing that  neatness  was  bred  in  the  bone. 
This  mouse  has  a  musical  voice  and  often 
chirps  as  sweetly  as  a  bird.  Like  the  house 
mouse  it  is  more  active  at  night. 

The  meadow  mouse  is  the  one  that 
makes  its  runways  under  the  snow,  mak- 
ing strange  corrugated  patterns  over  the 


ground  which  attract  our  attention  in 
spring.  It  has  a  heavy  body,  short  legs, 
short  ears,  and  a  short  tail.  It  is  brownish 
or  blackish  in  color.  It  sometimes  digs 
burrows  straight  into  the  ground,  but 
more  often  makes  its  nest  in  waste  mead- 
ows. It  is  the  nest  of  this  field  mouse 
which  the  bumblebee  so  often  takes 
possession  of,  after  it  is  deserted.  The 
meadow  mouse  is  a  good  fighter,  sitting 
up  like  a  woodchuck  and  facing  its  enemy 
bravely.  It  needs  to  be  courageous,  for 
it  is  preyed  upon  by  almost  every  creature 
that  feeds  upon  small  animals;  the  hawks 
and  owls  especially  are  its  enemies.  It  is 
well  for  the  farmer  that  these  mice  have 
so  many  enemies,  for  they  multiply  rap- 
idly and  would  otherwise  soon  overrun 
and  destroy  the  grain  fields.  They  cause 
tremendous  damage  by  girdling  valuable 
fruit  trees.  This  mouse  is  an  excellent 
swimmer. 

A  part  of  winter  work  is  to  make  the 
pupils  familiar  with  the  tracks  of  the 
meadow  mice  and  to  teach  them  how  to 
distinguish  them  from  other  tracks. 


Country  Life  in  America 


A  white-footed  mouse  at  her  own  doorway  in 
the  woods 


MAMMALS 


Trapping  Field  Mice  —  Probably  wild 
animals  have  endured  more  cruelty 
through  the  agency  of  traps  than  through 
any  other  form  of  human  persecution.  The 
savage  steel  traps  often  catch  the  animal 
by  the  leg,  holding  it  until  it  gnaws  off 
the  imprisoned  foot,  and  thus  escapes 
maimed  and  handicapped  for  its  future 
struggle  for  food;  or  if  the  trap  gets  a 
strong  hold,  the  poor  creature  may  suffer 
tortures  during  a  long  period,  before  the 
owner  of  the  trap  appears  to  put  an  end 
to  its  sufferings  by  death.  If  box  traps  are 
used,  they  are  often  neglected  and  the 
imprisoned  animal  is  left  to  languish  and 
starve.  The  teacher  cannot  enforce  too 
strongly  upon  the  child  the  ethics  of  trap- 
ping. Impress  upon  him  that  the  box  traps 
are  far  less  cruel;  but  that  if  set,  they  must 
be  examined  regularly  and  not  neglected. 
The  study  of  mice  affords  a  good  oppor- 
tunity for  giving  the  children  a  lesson  in 
humane  trapping.  Let  them  set  a  tin-can 
trap  for  meadow  mice  or  deer  mice.  They 
must  examine  the  traps  every  morning. 
The  little  prisoners  may  be  brought  to 
school  and  studied;  meanwhile,  they 
should  be  treated  kindly  and  fed  bounti- 
fully. After  a  mouse  has  been  studied  it 
should  be  set  free,  even  though  it  be  one 
of  the  quite  pestiferous  field  mice.  The 
moral  effect  of  killing  an  animal  after  a 


227 


Tracks  of  a  white-footed  mouse.  Note  how 
the  long  tail  has  left  a  print  in  the  snow.  As 
this  mouse  does  not  hibernate,  its  tracks  are 
often  seen  on  snow 


Nature  Photography  around  the  Year,  Percy  A.  Morris, 
-©  D.  Appleton-Century  Co.,  Inc. 

A  meadow  mouse 

child  has  become  thoroughly  interested  in 
it  and  its  life  is  always  bad. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Museum 
Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack 
and  William  P.  Alexander;  Winter, 
by  Dallas  L.  Sharp;  also,  readings  on 
page  214. 

LESSON  55 
THE  HOUSE  MOUSE 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  mouse  is  fit- 
ted by  color,  form,  agility,  and  habits  to 
thrive  upon  the  food  which  it  steals  from 
man,  and  to  live  in  the  midst  of  civilized 
people. 

METHOD  —  A  mouse  cage  can  be  easily 
made  of  wire  window-screen  tacked  upon 
a  wooden  frame.  I  have  even  used  aquar- 
ium jars  with  wire  screen  covers;  by  plac- 
ing one  jar  upon  another,  opening  to 
opening,  and  then  laying  them  horizontal, 
the  mouse  can  be  transferred  to  a  fresh 
cage  without  trouble,  and  thus  the 
mousy  odor  can  be  obviated  while  the 
little  creature  is  being  studied.  A  little 
water  in  a  wide-necked  bottle  can  be  low- 
ered into  this  glass  house  by  a  string,  and 
the  food  can  be  given  in  like  manner. 
Stripped  paper  should  be  put  into  the  jar 
for  the  comfort  of  the  prisoner;  a  stiff 
string  hanging  down  from  the  middle  of 
the  cage  will  afford  him  a  chance  to  show 
his  feats  as  an  acrobat. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Why  is  the  color  of 
the  mouse  of  special  benefit  to  it?  Do 
you  think  it  protects  it  from  the  sight  of 


228 


ANIMALS 


Robert  T.  Hatt 


A  tin-can  trap  for  catching  small  rodents 
alive.  To  a  choke  trap  is  wired  a  tin  can  with 
a  piece  slightly  larger  than  the  bait  treadle  of 
the  trap  cut  out.  To  the  choke  wire  of  the 
trap  is  fastened  a  square  of  coarse  wire  mesh 

its  enemies?  Can  you  see  a  mouse  easily 
as  it  runs  across  the  room?  What  is  the 
nature  of  the  fur  of  a  mouse? 

2.  How  long  is  a  mouse's  tail  as  com- 
pared with  its  body?  What  is  the  cover- 
ing of  the  tail?  Of  what  use  to  the  mouse 
is  this  long,  ridged  tail?  Watch  the  mouse 
carefully  and  discover,  if  you  can,  the  use 
of  the  tail  in  climbing. 

3.  Is  the  mouse  a  good  jumper?  Are 
the  hind  legs  long  and  strong  when  com- 
pared with  the  front  legs?  How  high  do 
you  think  a  mouse  can  jump?  Do  you 
think  it  uses  its  tail  as  an  aid  in  jumping? 
How  much  of  the  legs  are  covered  with 
hair?  Compare  the  front  and  hind  feet. 
What  sort  of  claws  have  they?  How  does 
the  mouse  use  its  feet  when  climbing  the 
string?  How  can  it  climb  up  the  side  of 
a  wall? 

4.  Describe  the  eyes.  Do  you  think  the 
mouse  can  see  very  well?  Does  it  wink? 
What  is  the  shape  of  the  ears?  Do  you 
think  it  can  hear  well?  Can  it  move  its 
ears  forward  or  backward? 


5.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  snout?  Of 
what  advantage  is  this?  Note  the  whiskers. 
What  is  their  use?  Describe  the  mouth. 
Do  you  know  how  the  teeth  are  arranged? 
For  what  other  purpose  than  to  bite  food 
does  the  mouse  use  its  teeth?  What  other 
animals  have  their  teeth  arranged  like 
those  of  the  mouse?  What  food  does  the 
house  mouse  live  upon?  How  does  it 
get  it? 

6.  How  does  the  mouse  act  when  it  is 
reaching  up  to  examine  something?  How 
does  it  hold  its  front  feet?  Describe  how 
the  mouse  washes  its  face;  its  back;  its  feet. 

7.  Where  does  the  house  mouse  build 
its  nest?  Of  what  material?  How  do  the 
baby  mice  look?  Can  they  see  when  they 
are  first  born? 

8.  House  mice  are  great  travelers.  Can 
you  tell  how  they  manage  to  get  from 
place  to  place?  Write  a  story  telling  all 
you  know  of  their  habits. 

9.  How  many  kinds  of  mice  do  you 
know?  Does  the  house  mouse  ever  live 
in  the  field?  What  do  you  know  of  the 
habits  of  the  white-footed  mouse?  Of  the 
meadow  mice?  Of  the  jumping  mice? 


American  Humane  Society 


A  woodchuck  caught  in  a  humane  trap.  If 
such  traps  are  visited  frequently,  animals 
caught  in  them  do  not  suffer  such  agonies  as 
in  ordinary  steel  traps.  Information  about 
various  types  of  humane  traps  can  be  secured 
from  the  American  Humane  Society,  Albany, 
N.Y. 


MAMMALS 


THE  WOODCHUCK 


He  who  knows  the  ways  of  the  wood- 
chuck  can  readily  guess  where  it  is  likely 
to  be  found;  it  loves  meadows  and  pastures 
where  grass  or  clover  lushly  grows.  It  is 
also  fond  of  garden  truck  and  has  a  special 
delectation  for  melons.  The  burrow  is 
likely  to  be  situated  near  a  fence  or  stone 
heap,  which  gives  easy  access  to  the 
chosen  food.  The  woodchuck  makes  its 
burrow  by  digging  the  earth  loose  with  its 
front  feet,  and  pushing  it  backward  and 
out  of  the  entrance  with  the  hind  feet. 
This  method  leaves  the  soil  in  a  heap  near 
the  entrance,  from  which  paths  radiate 
into  the  grass  in  all  directions.  If  one  un- 
dertakes to  dig  out  a  woodchuck,  one 
needs  to  be  not  only  a  husky  individual, 
but  something  of  an  engineer;  the  direc- 
tion of  the  burrow  extends  downward  for 
a  little  way,  and  then  rises  at  an  easy  angle, 
so  that  the  inmate  may  be  in  no  danger 
of  flood.  The  nest  is  merely  an  enlarge- 
ment of  the  burrow,  lined  with  soft  grass 
which  the  woodchucks  bring  in  in  their 
mouths.  During  the  early  part  of  the  sea- 
son, the  father  and  mother  and  the  litter 
of  young  may  inhabit  the  same  burrow, 
although  there  are  likely  to  be  at  least  two 
separate  nests.  There  is  usually  more  than 
one  back  door  to  the  woodchuck's  dwell- 


ing, through  which  it  may  escape  if 
pressed  too  closely  by  enemies;  these  back 
doors  differ  from  the  entrance  in  that 
they  are  usually  hidden  and  have  no  earth 
heaped  near  them. 

The  woodchuck  usually  feeds  in  the 
morning  and  again  in  the  evening,  and  is 
likely  to  spend  the  middle  of  the  day  rest- 
ing. It  often  goes  some  distance  from  its 
burrow  to  feed,  and  at  short  intervals  lifts 


The  woodchuck  is  at  home  in  grassy  meadows 


2JO 


ANIMALS 


itself  upon  its  hind  feet  to  see  if  the  coast 
is  clear;  if  assailed,  it  will  seek  to  escape 
by  running  to  its  burrow;  and  when  run- 
ning, it  has  a  peculiar  gait  well  described 
as  "  pouring  itself  along/'  If  it  reaches  its 
burrow,  it  at  once  begins  to  dig  deeply  and 
throw  the  earth  out  behind  it,  thus  mak- 
ing a  wall  to  keep  out  the  enemy.  When 
cornered,  the  woodchuck  is  a  courageous 
and  fierce  fighter;  its  sharp  incisors  prove 
a  powerful  weapon  and  it  will  often  whip 
a  dog  much  larger  than  itself.  Every  boy 
knows  how  to  find  whether  the  wood- 


W.  J.  Hamilton,  Jr. 


.    .      amon,    r. 

These   young   woodchucks   are  as  tame  as 

kittens 

chuck  is  in  its  den  or  not,  by  rolling  a 
stone  into  the  burrow,  and  listening;  if 
the  animal  is  at  home,  the  sound  of  its 
digging  apprises  the  listener  of  the  fact, 
In  earlier  times,  the  ground  hogs  were 
much  preyed  upon  by  wolves,  wildcats, 
and  foxes;  now  only  the  fox  remains  and 
he  is  fast  disappearing,  so  that  at  present 
the  farmer  and  his  dog  are  about  the  only 
enemies  this  burrower  has,  to  contend 
with.  In  recent  years  it  has  been  con- 
sidered a  game  animal  and  furnishes  much 
sport  for  the  rifleman.  It  is  an  animal  of 
resources  and  will  climb  a  tree  if  attacked 
by  a  dog;  it  will  also  climb  trees  for  fruit, 
such  as  wild  cherries  or  peaches.  During 
the  late  summer,  it  is  the  ground  hog's 
business  to  feed  very  constantly  and  be- 
come very  fat.  About  the  first  of  October, 
it  retires  to  its  den  and  sleeps  until  the 
end  of  February  or  early  March,  in  the 
eastern  United  States.  During  this  dor- 
mant state,  the  beating  of  its  heart  is  so 
faint  as  to  be  scarcely  perceptible,  and  very 


little  nourishment  is  required  to  keep  it 
alive;  this  nourishment  is  supplied  by  the 
fat  stored  in  its  body,  which  it  uses  up  by 
spring,  when  it  comes  out  of  its  burrow 
looking  gaunt  and  lean.  The  old  saying 
that  the  ground  hog  comes  out  on  Candle- 
mas Day,  and  if  it  sees  its  shadow,  goes 
back  to  sleep  for  six  weeks  more,  may 
savor  of  meteorological  truth,  but  it  is  cer- 
tainly not  true  of  the  ground  hog. 

The  full-grown  woodchuck  ordinarily 
measures  about  two  feet  in  length.  Its 
color  is  grizzly  or  brownish,  sometimes 
blackish  in  places;  the  under  parts  are  red- 
dish and  the  feet  black.  The  fur  is  rather 
coarse,  thick,  and  brown,  with  longer  hairs 
which  are  grayish.  The  skin  is  very  thick 
and  tough  and  seems  to  fit  loosely,  a  condi- 
tion which  gives  the  peculiar  "  pouring 
along  "  appearance  when  it  is  running. 
The  hind  legs  and  feet  are  longer  than 
those  in  front.  Both  pairs  of  feet  are  fitted 
for  digging,  the  front  ones  being  used  for 
loosening  the  earth  and  the  hind  pair 
for  kicking  it  out  of  the  burrow. 

The  woodchuck's  ears  are  roundish  and 
not  prominent;  the  sense  of  hearing  is 
acute.  The  teeth  consist  of  two  large  white 
incisors  at  the  front  of  each  jaw,  then  a 
bare  space,  and  then  four  grinders  on  each 
side,  above  and  below;  the  incisors  are 
used  for  biting  food  and  also  for  fighting. 
The  eyes  are  full  and  bright.  The  tail  is 
short  and  brushy,  and  it,  with  the  hind 
legs,  forms  a  tripod  which  supports  the 
animal  as  it  sits  with  its  forefeet  lifted. 

When  feeding,  the  woodchuck  often 
makes  a  contented  grunting  noise;  when 
attacked  and  fighting,  it  growls;  it  also 
can  whistle.  I  had  a  woodchuck  acquaint- 
ance once  which  always  gave  a  high,  shrill, 
almost  birdlike  whistle  when  I  came  in 
view.  There  are  plenty  of  statements  in 
books  that  woodchucks  are  fond  of  music, 
and  Mr.  Ingersoll  states  that  at  Wellesley 
College  a  woodchuck  on  the  chapel  lawn 
was  wont  to  join  the  morning  song  exer- 
cises with  a  "  clear  soprano/7  The  young 
woodchucks  are  born  from  late  March  to 
mid  May,  and  the  litter  usually  numbers 
four  or  five.  In  June  the  "  chucklings " 
may  be  seen  following  the  mother  in  the 


MAMMALS 


231 


field  with  much  babyish  grunting.  If  cap-      direction  do  the  underground  galleries 


tured  at  this  period,  they  make  very  in- 
teresting pets.  By  July  the  young  wood- 
chucks  leave  the  home  burrow  and  start 
burrows  of  their  own. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Bozo,  the  Wood- 
chuck,  by  Dorothy  L.  Brown  and  Mar- 
guerite Butterfield;  Holiday  Meadow,  by 
Edith  M.  Patch;  Mother  Nature  Series, 
by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell, 
Book  2,  By  the  Roadside;  The  Museum 
Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack 
and  William  P.  Alexander;  The  Pet  Book, 
by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  readings  on 
page  214. 

LESSON  56 
THE  WOODCHUCK  OR  GROUND  HOG 

LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  woodchuck 
has  thriven  with  civilization,  notwith- 
standing the  farmer's  dog,  gun,  traps,  and 
poison.  It  makes  its  nest  in  a  burrow  in 
the  earth  and  lives  upon  vegetation;  it 
hibernates  in  winter. 

METHOD  —  Within  convenient  distance 
for  observation  by  the  pupils  of  every 
country  schoolhouse  and  of  most  village 
schoolhouses,  may  be  found  a  woodchuck 
and  its  dwelling.  The  pupils  should  be 
given  the  outline  for  observations  which 
should  be  made  individually  through 
watching  the  woodchuck  for  weeks  or 
months. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  is  the  wood- 
chuck  found?  On  what  does  it  live?  At 
what  time  of  day  does  it  feed?  How  does 
it  act  when  startled? 

2.  Is  the  woodchuck  a  good  fighter? 
With  what  weapons  does  it  fight?  What 
are  its  enemies?  How  does  it  escape  its 
enemies  when  in  or  out  of  its  burrow? 
How  does  it  look  when  running? 

3.  What  noises  does  the  woodchuck 
make?  Play  a  mouth  organ  near  the  wood- 
chuck's  burrow  and  note  if  it  likes  music. 

4.  How  does  the  woodchuck  make  its 
burrow?  Where  is  it  likely  to  be  situated? 
Where  is  the  earth  placed  which  is  taken 
from  the  burrow?  How  does  the  wood- 
chuck  bring  it  out?  How  is  the  burrow 
made    so   that   the  woodchuck   is   not 
drowned  in  case  of  heavy  rains?  In  what 


go?  Where  is  the  nest  placed  in  relation 
to  the  galleries?  Of  what  is  the  nest  made? 
How  is  the  bedding  carried  in?  Of  what 
special  use  is  the  nest? 

5.  Do  you  find  paths  leading  to  the 
entrances  of  the  burrow?  If  so?  describe 
them.  How  can  you  tell  whether  a  wood- 
chuck  is  at  home  or  not  if  you  do  not  see 
it  enter?  Where  is  the  woodchuck  likely 
to  station  itself  when  it  sits  up  to  look 
for  intruders? 

6.  How  many  woodchucks  inhabit  the 
same  burrow?  Are  there  likely  to  be  one 
or  more  back  doors  to  the  burrow?  What 
for?  How  do  the  back  doors  differ  from 
the  front  doors? 

7.  How  long  is  the  longest  wroodchuck 
that  you  have  ever  seen?  What  is  the 
woodchucFs  color?  Is  its  fur  long  or  short? 
Coarse  or  fine?  Thick  or  sparse?  Is  the 
skin  thick  or  thin?  Does  it  seem  loose  or 
close  fitting? 

8.  Compare  the  front  and  hind  feet 
and  describe  the  difference  in  size  and 
shape.  Are  either  or  both  slightly  webbed? 
Explain  how  both  front  and  hind  feet  and 
legs  are  adapted  by  their  shape  to  help 
the  woodchuck.  Is  the  tail  long  or  short? 
How  does  it  assist  the  animal  in  sitting  up? 

9.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  wood- 
chuck's  ear?  Can  it  hear  well?  Of  what 
use  are  the  long  incisors?  Describe  the 
eyes. 

10.  How  does  the  woodchuck  prepare 
for  winter?  Where   and  how   does   it 
pass  the  winter?  Did  you  ever  know  a 
woodchuck  to  come  out  on  Candlemas 
Day  to  look  for  its  shadow? 

11.  When  does  the  woodchuck  appear 
in  the  spring?  Compare  its  general  ap- 
pearance in  the  fall  and  in  the  spring  and 
explain  the  reason  for  the  difference. 

12.  When  are  the  young  woodchucks 
born?  What  do  you  know  of  the  way  the 
mother  woodchuck  cares  for  her  young? 

As  I  turned  round  the  corner  of  Hub- 
bard's  Grove,  saw  a  woodchuck,  the  first 
of  the  season,  in  the  middle  of  the  field 
six  or  seven  rods  from  the  fence  which 
bounds  the  wood,  and  twenty  rods  distant. 


ANIMALS 


I  ran  along  the  fence  and  cut  him  off,  or 
rather  overtook  him,  though  he  started  at 
the  same  time.  When  I  was  only  a  rod  and 
a  half  off,  he  stopped,  and  I  did  the  same; 
then  he  ran  again,  and  I  ran  up  within 
three  feet  of  him,  when  he  stopped  again, 
the  fence  being  between  us.  I  squatted 
down  and  surveyed  him  at  my  leisure. 
His  eyes  were  dull  black  and  rather  in- 
obvious,  with  a  faint  chestnut  iris,  with 
but  little  expression  and  that  more  of  resig- 
nation than  of  anger.  The  general  aspect 
was  a  coarse  grayish  brown,  a  sort  of  grisel. 
A  lighter  brown  next  the  skin,  then  black 
or  very  dark  brown  and  tipped  with  whit- 
ish rather  loosely.  The  head  between  a 
squirrel  and  a  bear,  flat  on  the  top  and 
dark  brown,  and  darker  still  or  black  on 
the  tip  of  the  nose.  The  whiskers  black, 
two  inches  long.  The  ears  very  small  and 
roundish,  set  far  back  and  nearly  buried 
in  the  fur.  Black  feet,  with  long  and  slen- 
der claws  for  digging.  It  appeared  to 
tremble,  or  perchance  shivered  with  cold. 
When  I  moved,  it  gritted  its  teeth  quite 
loud,  sometimes  striking  the  under  jaw 
against  the  other  chatteringly,  sometimes 
grinding  one  /aw  on  the  other,  yet  as  if 
more  from  instinct  than  anger.  Which- 
ever way  I  turned,  that  way  it  headed.  I 
took  a  twig  a  foot  long  and  touched  its 
snout,  at  which  it  started  forward  and  bit 
the  stick,  lessening  the  distance  between  us 
to  two  feet,  and  still  it  held  all  the  ground 
it  gained.  I  played  with  it  tenderly  awhile 
with  the  stick,  trying  to  open  its  gritting 
jaws.  Ever  its  long  incisors,  two  above  and 
two  below,  were  presented.  But  I  thought 
it  would  go  to  sleep  if  I  stayed  long 
enough.  It  did  not  sit  upright  as  some- 
times, but  standing  on  its  fore  feet  with 
its  head  down,  i.  e.,  half  sitting,  half  stand- 
ing. We  sat  looking  at  one  another  about 
half  an  hour,  till  we  began  to  feel  mes- 
meric influences.  When  I  was  tired,  I 
moved  away,  wishing  to  see  him  run,  but 
I  could  not  start  him.  He  would  not  stir 
as  long  as  I  was  looking  at  him  or  could 
see  him.  I  walked  around  him;  he  turned 
as  fast  and  fronted  me  still.  I  sat  down  by 
his  side  within  a  foot.  I  talked  to  him  quasi 
forest  lingo,  baby-talk,  at  any  rate  in  a  con- 


ciliatory tone,  and  thought  that  I  had 
some  influence  on  him.  He  gritted  his 
teeth  less.  I  chewed  checkerberry  leaves 
and  presented  them  to  his  nose  at  last 
without  a  grit;  though  I  saw  that  by  so 
much  gritting  of  the  teeth  he  had  worn 
them  rapidly  and  they  were  covered  with 
a  fine  white  powder,  which,  if  you  meas- 
ured it  thus,  would  have  made  his  anger 
terrible.  He  did  not  mind  any  noise  I 
might  make.  With  a  little  stick  I  lifted 
one  of  his  paws  to  examine  it,  and  held 
it  up  at  pleasure.  I  turned  him  over  to  see 
what  color  he  was  beneath  (darker  or 
most  purely  brown),  though  he  turned 
himself  back  again  sooner  than  I  could 
have  wished.  His  tail  was  also  brown, 
though  not  very  dark,  rat-tail  like,  with 
loose  hairs  standing  out  on  all  sides  like 
a  caterpillar  brush.  He  had  a  rather  mild 
look.  I  spoke  kindly  to  him.  I  reached 
checkerberry  leaves  to  his  mouth.  I 
stretched  my  hands  over  him,  though 
he  turned  up  his  head  and  still  gritted  a 
little.  I  laid  my  hand  on  him,  but  im- 
mediately took  it  off  again,  instinct  not 
being  wholly  overcome.  If  I  had  had  a 
few  fresh  bean  leaves,  thus  in  advance  of 
the  season,  I  am  sure  I  should  have  tamed 
him  completely.  It  was  a  frizzly  tail.  His 
is  a  humble,  terrestrial  color  like  the  par- 
tridge's, well  concealed  where  dead  wiry 
grass  rises  above  darker  brown  or  chestnut 
dead  leaves  —  a  modest  color.  If  I  had  had 
some  food,  I  should  have  ended  with 
stroking  him  at  my  leisure.  Could  easily 
have  wrapped  him  in  my  handkerchief. 
He  was  not  fat  nor  particularly  lean.  I 
finally  had  to  leave  him  without  seeing 
him  move  from  the  place.  A  large,  clumsy, 
burrowing  squirrel.  Arctomys,  bear-mouse. 
I  respect  him  as  one  of  the  natives.  He 
lies  there,  by  his  color  and  habits  so  nat- 
uralized amid  the  dry  leaves,  the  withered 
grass,  and  the  bushes.  A  sound  nap,  too, 
he  has  enjoyed  in  his  native  fields,  the  past 
winter.  I  think  I  might  learn  some  wis- 
dom of  him.  His  ancestors  have  lived  here 
longer  than  mine.  He  is  more  thoroughly 
acclimated  and  naturalized  than  I.  Bean 
leaves  the  red  man  raised  for  him,  but  he 
can  do  without  them. 

—  THOREAU'S  JOURNAL 


MAMMALS 


THE  RED  SQUIRREL  OR  CHICKAREE 

Just  a  tawny  glimmer,  a  dash  of  red  and  gray, 

Was  it  a  flitting  shadow,,  or  a  sunbeam  gone  astray/ 

It  glances  up  a  tree  trunk,  and  a  pair  of  bright  eyes  glow 

Where  a  little  spy  in  ambush  is  measuring  his  foe. 

I  hear  a  mocking  chuckle,  then  wrathful,  he  grows  bold 

And  stays  his  pressing  business  to  scold  and  scold  and  scold. 


We  ought  to  yield  admiring  tribute  to 
those  animals  which  have  been  able  to 
flourish  in  our  midst  despite  man  and  his 
gun,  this  weapon  being  the  most  cowardly 
and  unfair  invention  of  the  human  mind. 
The  only  time  that  man  has  been  a  fair 
fighter  in  combating  his  four-footed 
brethren  was  when  he  fought  them  with 
a  weapon  which  he  wielded  in  his  hand. 
There  is  nothing  in  animal  comprehen- 
sion which  can  take  into  account  a  pro- 
jectile, and  much  less  a  shot  from  a  gun; 
but  though  it  does  not  understand,  it  ex- 
periences a  deathly  fear  at  the  noise.  It 
is  pathetic  to  note  the  hush  in  a  forest 
that  follows  the  sound  of  a  gun;  every  song, 
every  voice,  every  movement  is  stilled  and 
every  little  heart  filled  with  nameless  ter- 
ror. How  any  man  or  boy  can  feel  manly 
when,  with  this  scientific  instrument  of 
death  in  his  hands,  he  takes  the  life  of 
a  little  squirrel,  bird,  or  rabbit,  is  beyond 
my  comprehension.  In  pioneer  days  when 
it  was  a  fight  for  existence,  man  against 
the  wilderness,  the  matter  was  quite  dif- 
ferent; but  now  it  seems  to  me  that  any- 
one who  hunts  what  few  wild  creatures 
we  have  left,  and  which  are  in  nowise  in- 
jurious, is,  whatever  he  may  think  of  him- 
self, no  believer  in  fair  play. 

Within  my  own  memory,  the  beautiful 
black  squirrel  was  as  common  in  our 
woods  as  was  his  red  cousin;  the  shotgun 
has  exterminated  this  splendid  species  lo- 
cally. Well  may  we  rejoice  that  the  red 
squirrel  has,  through  its  lesser  size  and 
greater  cunning,  escaped  a  like  fate;  and 
that,  pugnacious  and  companionable 
and  shy,  it  lives  in  our  midst  and  climbs 
our  very  roofs  to  sit  there  and  scold  us  for 
coming  within  its  range  of  vision.  It  has 


succeeded  not  only  in  living  despite  man, 
but  because  of  man,  for  it  rifles  our  grain 
bins  and  corn  cribs  and  waxes  opulent  by 
levying  tribute  upon  our  stores. 

Thoreau  describes  most  graphically  the 
movements  of  this  squirrel.  He  says:  "  All 
day  long  the  red  squirrels  came  and  went. 
One  would  approach  at  first  warily,  warily, 


Dorothy  M.  Compton 

Red  squirrel  at  feeding  log 

through  the  shrub-oaks,  running  over  the 
snow  crust  by  fits  and  starts  and  like  a 
leaf  blown  by  the  wind,  now  a  few  paces 
this  way,  with  wonderful  speed  and  waste 
of  energy,  making  inconceivable  haste 
with  his "  trotters/7  as  if  it  were  for  a  wager, 
and  now  as  many  paces  that  way,  but 
never  getting  on  more  than  half  a  rod  at 
a  time;  and  then  suddenly  pausing  with 
a  ludicrous  expression  and  a  gratuitous 
somersault,  as  if  all  the  eyes  of  the  uni- 
verse were  fixed  on  him  .  .  .  and  then 
suddenly,  before  you  could  say  "  Jack 
Robinson  "  he  would  be  in  the  top  of  a 


ANIMALS 


A  red  squirrel  on  his  vine  bridge 


young  pitch  pine,  winding  up  his  clock, 
and  chiding  all  imaginary  spectators,  so- 
liloquizing and  talking  to  all  the  universe 
at  the  same  time/' 

It  is  surely  one  of  the  most  comical  of 
sights  to  see  a  squirrel  stop  running  and, 
take  observations;  he  lifts  himself  on  his 
haunches,  and  with  body  bent  forward, 
presses  his  little  paws  against  his  breast 
as  if  to  say,  "  Be  still,  O  my  beating 
heart!  "  which  is  all  pure  affectation  be- 
cause he  knows  he  can  scurry  away  in  per- 
fect safety.  He  is  likely  to  take  refuge  on 
the  far  side  of  a  tree,  peeping  out  from 
this  side  and  that,  and  whisking  back 
like  a  flash  as  he  catches  our  eye;  we 
might  never  know  he  was  there  except 
that,  as  Riley  puts  it,  "  he  lets  his  own 
tail  tell  on  him/7  When  climbing  up  or 
down  a  tree,  he  goes  head  first  and  spreads 
his  legs  apart  to  clasp  as  much  of  the 
trunk  as  possible;  meanwhile  his  sharp  lit- 
tle claws  cling  securely  to  the  bark.  He  can 
climb  out  on  the  smallest  twigs  quite  as 
well,  when  he  needs  to  clo  so,  in  passing 
from  tree  to  tree  or  when  gathering 
acorns. 

A  squirrel  always  establishes  certain 
roads  to  and  from  his  abiding  place  and 
almost  invariably  follows  them.  Such  a 


path  may  be  entirely  in  the  tree  tops,  with 
air  bridges  from  a  certain  branch  of  one 
tree  to  a  certain  branch  of  another,  or  it 
may  be  partially  on  the  ground  between 
trees.  I  have  made  notes  of  these  paths  in 
the  vicinity  of  my  own  home,  and  have 
noted  that  if  a  squirrel  leaves  them  for 
exploring,  he  goes  warily;  while,  when  fol- 
lowing them,  he  is  quite  reckless  in  his 
haste.  When  making  a  jump  from  tree 
to  tree,  he  flattens  himself  as  widely  as 
possible  and  his  tail  is  held  somewhat 
curved,  but  on  a  level  with  the  body,  as 
if  its  wide  brush  helped  to  buoy  him  up 
and  perhaps  to  steer  him  also. 

During  the  winter  the  chickaree  is 
brightly  colored  and  is  a  conspicuous  ob- 
ject; his  back  is  bright  russet,  almost  red, 
and  along  his  sides,  where  the  red  meets 
the  grayish  white  of  the  underside,  there 
is  a  dark  line  which  is  very  ornamental. 
With  the  corning  of  summer,  however,  his 
coat  becomes  quite  dingy.  In  November 
he  moults,  and  his  bright  color  returns. 
When  dashing  up  a  tree  trunk,  his  color 
is  never  very  striking  but  looks  like  the 
glimmer  of  sunlight;  this  has  probably 
saved  many  of  his  kind  from  the  gunner, 
whose  eyes,  being  at  the  front  of  his  head, 
cannot  compare  in  efficiency  with  those 
of  the  squirrel,  which,  large  and  full  and 
alert,  are  placed  at  the  sides  of  the  head 
so  as  to  see  equally  well  in  all  directions. 

The  squirrel's  legs  are  short  because  he 
is  essentially  a  climber  rather  than  a  run- 
ner; the  hips  are  very  strong,  which  in- 
sures his  power  as  a  jumper,  and  his  leaps 
are  truly  remarkable.  A  squirrel  uses  his 
front  paws  for  hands  in  a  most  human 
way;  with  them  he  washes  his  face  and 
holds  his  food  up  to  his  mouth  while 
eating,  and  it  is  interesting  to  note  the  skill 
of  his  claws  when  used  as  fingers.  The  track 
he  makes  in  the  snow  is  quite  character- 
istic. The  tracks  are  paired  and  those  of 
the  large  five-toed  hind  feet  are  always  in 
front. 


Squirrel  tracks 


MAMMALS 


The  squirrel  has  two  pairs  of  gnawing 
teeth  which  are  very  long  and  strong,  as 
in  all  rodents,  and  he  needs  to  keep  busy 
gnawing  hard  things  with  them,  or  they 
will  grow  so  long  that  he  cannot  use  them 
at  all  and  will  starve  to  death.  He  is  very 
clever  about  opening  nuts  so  as  to  get  all 
the  meats.  He  often  opens  a  hickory  nut 
with  two  holes  which  tap  the  places  of 
the  nut  meats  squarely;  with  walnuts 
or  butternuts,  which  have  much  harder 
shells,  he  makes  four  small  holes,  one  op- 
posite each  quarter  of  the  kernel.  He  has 
no  cheek  pouches  like  a  chipmunk  but 
he  can  carry  corn  and  other  grain.  He 
often  fills  his  mouth  so  full  that  his  cheeks 
bulge  out  like  those  of  a  boy  eating  pop- 
corn; but  anything  as  large  as  a  nut  he 
carries  in  his  teeth.  His  food  is  far  more 
varied  than  many  suppose  and  he  will 
eat  almost  anything  eatable;  he  is  a  little 
pirate  and  enjoys  stealing  from  others  with 
keenest  zest.  In  spring,  he  eats  leaf  buds 
and  hunts  our  orchards  for  apple  seeds. 
In  winter,  he  feeds  on  nuts,  buds,  and 
cones;  it  is  marvelous  how  he  will  take  a 
cone  apart,  tearing  of!  the  scales  and  leav- 
ing them  in  a  heap  while  searching  for 
seeds;  he  is  especially  fond  of  the  seeds 
of  Norway  spruce  and  hemlock.  Of  course, 
he  is  fond  of  nuts  of  all  kinds  and  will 
cut  the  chestnut  burs  from  the  tree  before 
they  are  ripe,  so  that  he  may  get  ahead  of 
the  other  harvesters.  He  stores  his  food 
for  winter  in  all  sorts  of  odd  places  and 
often  forgets  where  he  puts  it.  We  often 


A.  A.  Allen 

A  gray  squirrel  with  food  in  its  paws 


Dwight  E.  Sollberger 

Flying  squirrel  just  leaving  home 

find  his  winter  stores  untouched  the  next 
summer.  He  also  likes  birds'  eggs  and  nest- 
lings, and  if  it  were  not  for  the  chastise- 
ment he  gets  from  the  parent  robins, 
he  would  work  much  damage  in  this 
way. 

The  red  squirrels  use  a  great  variety  of 
places  for  nests.  In  different  localities  vari- 
ous types  of  nests  are  constructed;  some 
individuals  prefer  hollow  trees,  some  build 
nests  in  clumps  of  vines,  such  as  wild 
grape  vines,  and  still  others  make  their 
homes  in  the  ground  under  or  about 
stumps.  During  the  winter,  the  red  squir- 
rel does  not  remain  at  home  except  in 
the  coldest  weather,  when  he  lies  cozily 
with  his  tail  wrapped  around  him  like  a 
fur  neck-piece  to  keep  him  warm.  He  is 
too  full  of  interest  in  the  world  to  lie 
quietly  long,  but  comes  out,  hunts  up 
some  of  his  stores,  and  finds  life  worth 
while  despite  the  cold.  One  squirrel 
adopted  a  birdhouse  in  one  of  our  trees, 
and  he  or  his  kin  have  lived  there  for 
years;  in  winter,  he  takes  his  share  of  the 
suet  put  on  the  trees  for  birds,  and  be- 
cause of  his  greediness  we  have  been  com- 
pelled to  use  picture  wire  for  tying  on 
the  suet. 

The  young  are  born  in  a  well-protected 
nest.  There  are  four  to  six  in  a  litter  and 
they  usually  appear  in  April.  If  it  is  neces- 


ANIMALS 


sary  to  move  the  young  the  mother  grasps 
the  babies  by  the  loose  skin  of  their  un- 
derparts  and  carries  them  to  safety. 

The  squirrel  has  several  ways  of  ex- 
pressing his  emotions;  one  is  by  various 
curves  in  his  long,  beautiful  bushy  tail. 
If  the  creatures  of  the  wood  had  a  stage, 
the  squirrel  would  be  their  chief  actor. 
Surprise,  incredulousness,  indignation, 
fear,  anger,  and  joy  are  all  perfectly  ex- 
pressed by  tail  gestures  and  also  by  voice. 
As  a  vocalist  he  excels;  he  chatters  with 
curiosity,  "  chips "  with  surprise,  scolds 
by  giving  a  guttural  trill,  finishing  with  a 
falsetto  squeal.  He  is  the  only  singer  I 
know  who  can  carry  two  parts  at  a  time. 
Notice  him  sometimes  in  the  top  of  a 
hickory  or  chestnut  tree  when  nuts  are 
ripe,  and  you  will  hear  him  singing  a 
duet  all  by  himself,  a  high  shrill  chatter 
with  a  chuckling  accompaniment.  Long 
may  he  abide  with  us  as  an  uninvited 
guest  at  our  cribs!  For,  though  he  be  a 
freebooter  and  conscienceless,  yet  our 
world  would  lack  its  highest  example  of 
incarnate  grace  and  activity  if  he  were 
not  in  it. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Bannertail,  the 
Story  of  a  Gray  Squirrel,  by  Ernest 
Thompson  Seton;  Holiday  Hill,  by  Edith 
M.  Patch;  Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fan- 
nie W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book 
i,  Baby  Animals,  Book  2,  By  the  Road- 
side; The  Museum  Comes  to  Life,  by 
Maribelle  Corrnack  and  William  P.  Alex- 
ander; Our  Backdoor  Neighbors,  by  Frank 
C.  Pellett;  The  Pet  Book,  by  Anna  B. 
Comstock;  also,  reading  on  page  214. 

LESSON  57 

THE  RED  SQUIRREL  OR  CHICKAREE 
LEADING  THOUGHT  — The  red  squirrel 
by  its  agility  and  cleverness  has  lived  on, 
despite  its  worst  enemy  —  man.  By  form 
and  color  and  activity  it  is  fitted  to  elude 
the  hunter. 

METHOD  —  If  a  pet  squirrel  in  a  cage 
can  be  procured  for  observation  at  the 
school,  the  observations  on  the  form  and 
habits  of  the  animal  can  be  best  studied 
thus;  but  a  squirrel  in  a  cage  is  an  anomaly 


and  it  is  far  better  to  stimulate  the  pupils 
to  observe  the  squirrels  out  of  doors.  Give 
the  following  questions,  a  few  at  a  time, 
and  ask  the  pupils  to  report  the  answers 
to  the  entire  class.  Much  should  be  done 
with  the  supplementary  reading,  as  there 
are  many  interesting  squirrel  stories  illus- 
trating its  habits. 

OBSERVATIONS  — i.  Where  have  you 
seen  a  squirrel?  Does  the  squirrel  trot 
along  or  leap  when  running  on  the 
ground?  Does  it  run  straight  ahead  or 
stop  at  intervals  for  observation?  How 
does  it  look?  How  does  it  act  when  look- 
ing to  see  if  the  "  coast  is  clear  "? 

2.  When  climbing  a  tree,  does  it  go 
straight  up,  or  move  around  the  trunk? 
How  does  it  hide  itself  behind  a  tree 
trunk  and  observe  the  passer-by?  Describe 
how  it  manages  to  climb  a  tree.  Does  it 
go  down  the  tree  head  first?  Is  it  able  to 
climb  out  on  the  smallest  branches?  Of 
what  advantage  is  this  to  the  squirrel? 

3.  Look  closely  and  see  if  a  squirrel  fol- 
lows the  same  route  always  when  pass- 
ing from   one  point  to  another.   How 
does  it  pass  from  tree  to  tree?  How  does 
it  act  when  preparing  to   jump?   How 
does  it  hold  its  legs  and  tail  when  in 
the  air  during  a  jump  from  branch  to 
branch? 

4.  Describe  the  colors  of  the  red  squir- 
rel above  and  below.  Is  there  a  dark  stripe 
along  its  side;  if  so,  what  color?  How  does 
the  color  of  the  squirrel  protect  it  from 
its  enemies?  Is  its  color  brighter  in  sum- 
mer or  in  winter? 

5.  How  are  the  squirrel's  eyes  placed? 
Do  you  think  it  can  see  behind  as  well  as 
in  front  all  the  time?  Are  its  eyes  bright 
and  alert,  or  soft  and  tender? 

6.  Are  its  legs  long  or  short?  Are  its 
hind  legs  stronger  and  longer  than  the 
front  legs?  Why?  Why  does  it  not  need 
long  legs?  Do  its  paws  have  claws?  How 
does  it  use  its  paws  when  eating  and  in 
making  its  toilet? 

7.  Describe  the  squirrel's  tail.  Is  it  as 
long  as  the  body?  Is  it  used  to  express 
emotion?  Of  what  use  is  it  when  the  squir- 
rel is  jumping?  Of  what  use  is  it  in  the 
winter  in  the  nest? 


MAMMALS 

8.  What  is  the  food  of  the  squirrel  dur- 
ing the  autumn?  Winter?  Spring?  Sum- 
mer? Where  does  it  store  food  for  the 
winter?  Does  it  steal  food  laid  up  by  jays, 
chipmunks,  mice,  or  other  squirrels?  How 
does  it  carry  nuts?  Has  it  cheek-pouches 
like  the  chipmunk  for  carrying  food?  Does 
it  stay  in  its  nest  all  winter  living  on  stored 
food  like  a  chipmunk? 

9.  Where  does  the  red  squirrel  make 
its  home?  Of  what  is  it  made  and  where 
built?  In  what  sort  of  nest  are  the  young 
born  and  reared?  At  what  time  of  the 
year  are  the  young  born?  How  does  the 


237 

mother  squirrel  carry  her  little  ones  if  she 
wishes  to  move  them? 

10.  How  much  of  squirrel  language  can 
you  understand?  How  does  it  express  sur- 
prise, excitement,  anger,  or  joy  during  the 
nut  harvest?  Note  how  many  different 
sounds  it  makes  and  try  to  discover  what 
they  mean, 

11.  Describe  or  sketch  the  tracks  made 
by  the  squirrel  in  the  snow. 

12.  How  does  the  squirrel  get  at  the 
meats  of  the  hickory  nut  and  the  walnut? 
How  are  its  teeth  arranged  to  gnaw  holes 
in  such  hard  substances  as  shells? 


FURRY 


Furry  was  a  baby  red  squirrel.  One  day 
in  May  his  mother  was  moving  him  from 
one  tree  to  another.  He  was  clinging  with 
his  little  arms  around  her  neck  and  his 
body  clasped  tightly  against  her  breast 
when  something  frightened  her,  and  in 
her  sudden  movement  she  dropped  her 
heavy  baby  in  the  grass.  Thus,  I  inherited 
him  and  entered  upon  the  rather  onerous 
duties  of  caring  for  a  baby  of  whose  needs 
I  knew  little;  but  I  knew  that  every  well- 
cared-for  baby  should  have  a  book  detail- 
ing all  that  happens  to  it,  and  therefore 
I  made  a  book  for  Furry,  writing  in  it  each 
day  the  things  he  did.  If  the  children  who 
have  pets  keep  similar  books,  they  will 
find  them  most  interesting  reading  after- 
ward, and  they  will  surely  enjoy  the  writ- 
ing very  much. 

EXTRACTS  FROM  FURRY' s  NOTEBOOK 

May  18,  1902— -The  baby  squirrel  is 
just  large  enough  to  cuddle  in  one  hand. 
He  cuddles  all  right  when  once  he  is  cap- 
tured; but  he  is  a  terrible  fighter,  and  when 
I  attempt  to  take  him  in  my  hand,  he 
scratches  and  bites  and  growls  so  that 
I  have  been  obliged  to  name  him  Fury. 
I  told  him,  however,  if  he  improved  in 
temper  I  would  change  his  name  to  Furry. 

May  19  —  Fury  greets  me,  when  I  open 
his  box,  with  the  most  awe-inspiring  little 
growls,  which  he  calculates  will  make  me 


turn  pale  with  fear.  He  has  not  cut  his 
teeth  yet,  so  he  cannot  bite  very  severely, 
but  that  isn't  his  fault,  for  he  'tries  hard 
enough.  The  Naturalist  said  cold  milk 
would  kill  him,  so  I  warmed  the  milk  and 
put  it  in  a  teaspoon  and  placed  it  in  front 
of  his  nose;  he  batted  the  spoon  with 
both  forepaws  and  tried  to  bite  it,  and 
thus  got  a  taste  of  the  milk,  which  he 
drank  eagerly,  lapping  it  up  like  a  kitten. 
When  I  hold  him  in  one  hand  and  cover 
him  with  the  other,  he  turns  contented 
little  somersaults  over  and  over. 

May  20  — Fury  bit  me  only  once  to- 
day, when  I  took  him  out  to  feed  him. 
He  is  cutting  his  teeth  on  my  devoted 
fingers.  I  tried  giving  him  grape-nuts 
soaked  in  milk,  but  he  spat  it  out  in  dis- 
gust. Evidently  he  does  not  believe  he 
needs  a  food  for  brain  and  nerve.  He  al- 
ways washes  his  face  as  soon  as  he  is 
through  eating. 

May  21  —  Fury  lies  curled  up  under  his 
blanket  all  day.  Evidently  good  little 
squirrels  stay  quietly  in  the  nest,  when 
the  mother  is  not  at  home  to  give  them 
permission  to  run  around.  When  Fury 
sleeps,  he  rolls  himself  up  in  a  little  ball 
with  his  tail  wrapped  closely  around  him. 
The  squirrel's  tail  is  his  "  furs,"  which  he 
wraps  around  him  to  keep  his  back  warm 
when  he  sleeps  in  winter. 

May  23  — Every  time  I  meet  Uncle 


238 


ANIMALS 


John  he  asks,  "  Is  his  name  Fury  or  Furry 
now?  "  Uncle  John  is  much  interested  in 
the  good  behavior  of  even  little  squirrels. 
As  Fury  has  not  bitten  me  hard  for  two 
days,  I  think  I  will  call  him  Furry  after 
this.  He  ate  some  bread  soaked  in  milk 
to-day,  holding  it  in  his  hands  in  real  squir- 
rel fashion.  I  let  him  run  around  the  room 
and  he  liked  it. 

May  25  —  Furry  got  away  from  me  this 
morning  and  I  did  not  find  him  for  an 
hour.  Then  I  discovered  him  in  a  paste- 
board box  of  drawing  paper  with  the  cover 
on.  How  did  he  squeeze  through? 

May  26  — He  holds  the  bowl  of  the 
spoon  with  both  front  paws  while  he 
drinks  the  milk.  When  I  try  to  draw  the 
spoon  away  to  fill  it  again  after  he  has 
emptied  it,  he  objects  and  hangs  on  to 
it  with  all  his  little  might,  and  scolds  as 
hard  as  ever  he  can.  He  is  such  a  funny, 
unreasonable  baby. 

May  28  —  Tonight  I  gave  Furry  a  wal- 
nut meat.  As  soon  as  he  smelled  it  he  be- 
came greatly  excited;  he  grasped  the  meat 
in  his  hands  and  ran  off  and  hid  under 
my  elbow,  growling  like  a  kitten  with  its 
first  mouse. 

May  30  —  Since  he  tasted  nuts  he  has 
lost  interest  in  milk.  The  nut  meats  are 
too  hard  for  his  new  teeth7  so  I  mash  them 
and  soak  them  in  water  and  now  he  eats 
them  like  a  little  piggy-wig  with  no  man- 
ners at  all.  He  loves  to  have  me  stroke 
his  back  while  he  is  eating.  He  uses  his 
thumbs  and  fingers  in  such  a  human  way 
that  I  always  call  his  front  paws  hands. 
When  his  piece  of  nut  is  very  small  he 
holds  it  in  one  hand  and  clasps  the  other 
hand  behind  the  one  which  holds  the 
dainty  morsel,  so  as  to  keep  it  safe. 

May  31  -—  When  he  is  sleepy  he  scolds 
if  I  disturb  him  and  turning  over  on  his 
back  bats  my  hand  with  all  of  his  soft 
little  paws  and  pretends  that  he  is  going 
to  bite. 

June  4  —  Furry  ranges  around  the  room 
now  to  please  himself.  He  is  a  little  mis- 
chief; he  tips  over  his  cup  of  milk  and 
has  commenced  gnawing  off  the  wall- 


paper behind  the  bookshelf  to  make  him 
a  nest.  The  paper  is  green  and  will  prob- 
ably make  him  sorry. 

June  5  -—  This  morning  Furry  was  hid- 
den in  a  roll  of  paper.  I  put  my  hand  over 
one  end  of  the  roll  and  then  reached  in 
with  the  other  hand  to  get  him;  but  he 
got  me  instead,  because  he  ran  up  my 
sleeve  and  was  much  more  contented  to 
be  there  than  I  was  to  have  him.  I  was 
glad  enough  when  he  left  his  hiding  place 
and  climbed  to  the  top  shelf  of  the  book- 
case, far  beyond  my  reach. 

June  6  —  1  have  not  seen  Furry  for 
twenty-four  hours,  but  he  is  here  surely 
enough.  Last  night  he  tipped  over  the 
ink  bottles  and  scattered  nut  shells  over 
the  floor.  He  prefers  pecans  to  any  other 
nuts. 

June  7  —  I  caught  Furry  today  and  he 
bit  my  finger  so  that  it  bled.  But  after- 
wards, he  cuddled  in  my  hand  for  a  long 
time,  and  then  climbed  my  shoulder  and 
went  hunting  around  in  my  hair  and 
wanted  to  stay  there  and  make  a  nest. 
When  I  took  him  away,  he  pulled  out  his 
two  hands  full  of  my  devoted  tresses.  I'll 
not  employ  him  as  a  hairdresser. 

June  9  —  Furry  sleeps  nights  in  the  top 
drawer  of  my  desk;  he  crawls  in  from  be- 
hind. When  I  pull  out  the  drawer  he  pops 
out  and  scares  me  nearly  out  of  my  wits; 
but  he  keeps  his  wits  about  him  and  gets 
away  before  I  can  catch  him. 

June  20  — - 1  keep  the  window  open  so 
Furry  can  run  out  and  in  and  learn  to 
take  care  of  himself  out-of-doors. 

Furry  soon  learned  to  take  care  of  him- 
self, though  he  often  returned  for  nuts, 
which  I  kept  for  him  in  a  bowl.  He  does 
not  come  very  near  me  out-of-doors,  but 
he  often  speaks  to  me  in  a  friendly  manner 
from  a  certain  pitch  pine  tree  near  the 
house. 

There  are  many  blank  leaves  in  Furry's 
notebook.  I  wish  that  he  could  have  writ- 
ten on  these  of  the  things  that  he  thought 
about  me  and  my  performances.  It  would 
certainly  have  been  the  most  interesting 
book  in  the  world  concerning  squirrels. 


MAMMALS 


239 


THE  CHIPMUNK 


While  the  chipmunk  is  a  good  runner 
and  jumper,  it  is  not  so  able  a  climber  as 
is  the  red  squirrel,  and  it  naturally  stays 
nearer  the  ground.  One  windy  day  I  was 
struck  by  the  peculiar  attitude  of  what 
I  first  thought  was  a  red  squirrel  gather- 
ing green  acorns  from  a  chestnut  oak  in 
front  of  my  window.  A  second  glance 
showed  me  that  it  was  a  chipmunk  lying 
close  to  the  branch,  hanging  on  for  "  dear 
life  "  and  with  an  attitude  of  extreme  cau- 
tion, quite  foreign  to  the  red  squirrel  in 
a  similar  situation.  He  would  creep  out, 
seize  an  acorn  in  his  teeth,  creep  back 
to  a  larger  limb,  take  off  the  shell,  and 
with  his  little  paws  stuff  the  kernel  into 
his  cheek-pouches;  he  took  hold  of  one 
side  of  his  mouth  with  one  hand  to 
stretch  it  out,  as  if  opening  a  bag,  and 
stuffed  the  acorn  in  with  the  other.  I  do 
not  know  whether  this  process  was  neces- 
sary or  not  at  the  beginning,  for  his  cheeks 
were  distended  when  I  first  saw  him;  and 
he  kept  on  stuffing  them  until  he  looked 
as  if  he  had  a  hopeless  case  of  mumps. 
Then  with  obvious  care  he  descended  the 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 


This  chipmunk  has  his  cheek-pouches  well 
stuffed 

tree  and  retreated  to  his  den  in  the  side- 
hill,  the  door  of  which  I  had  already  dis- 
covered, although  it  was  well  hidden  by 
a  bunch  of  orchard  grass. 


Chipmunks  are  more  easily  tamed  than 
red  squirrels  and  soon  learn  that  pockets 
may  contain  nuts  and  other  things  good 
to  eat.  The  first  tame  chipmunk  of  my 


"  Chipsie,"  a  chipmunk  of  the  Sierras 

acquaintance  belonged  to  a  species  found 
in  the  California  mountains.  He  was  a 
beautiful  little  creature  and  loved  to  play 
about  his  mistress'  room;  she,  being  a 
naturalist  as  well  as  a  poet,  was  able  to  un- 
derstand her  little  companion,  and  the  re- 
lations between  them  were  full  of  mutual 
confidence.  He  was  fond  of  English  wal- 
nuts and  would  always  hide  away  all  that 
were  placed  in  a  dish  on  the  table.  One 
day  his  mistress,  when  taking  off  her  hat 
after  returning  from  church,  discovered 
several  of  these  nuts  tucked  safely  in  the 
velvet  bows;  they  were  invisible  from  the 
front  but  perfectly  visible  from  the  side. 
Even  yet,  she  wonders  what  the  people 
at  church  that  day  thought  of  her  original 
ideas  in  millinery;  and  she  wonders  still 
more  how  "Chipsie"  managed  to  get 
into  the  hatbox,  the  cover  of  which  was 
always  carefully  closed. 

The  chipmunk  is  a  good  home  builder 
and  carries  off,  presumably  in  its  cheek- 
pouches,  all  of  the  soil  which  it  removes 
in  making  its  burrow.  The  burrow  is  usu- 


ANIMALS 


J 


Dorothy  M.  Conipton 

Peanuts  are  a  favorite  food  oj  tame  chip- 
munks 

ally  made  in  a  dry  hillside,  the  passage- 
way just  large  enough  for  its  own  body, 
widening  to  a  nest  which  is  well  bedded 
clown.  There  is  usually  a  back  door  also, 
so  that  in  case  of  necessity  the  inmate 
can  escape.  It  retires  to  this  nest  in  late 
November  and  does  not  appear  again 
until  March.  In  mild  winters  it  may  be 
up  and  about  on  bright,  sunny  days.  In 
the  nest  it  stores  nuts  and  other  grains 
so  that  when  it  wakens,  at  long  intervals, 
it  can  take  refreshment. 

If  you  really  wish  to  know  whether  you 
see  what  you  look  at  or  not,  test  yourself 
by  trying  to  describe  the  length,  position, 
and  number  of  the  chipmunk's  stripes. 
These  stripes,  like  those  of  the  tiger  in 
the  jungle,  make  the  creature  less  con- 
spicuous; when  on  the  ground,  where  its 
stripes  fall  in  with  the  general  shape  and 
color  of  the  grass  and  underbrush,  it  is 
quite  invisible  until  it  stirs.  Its  tail  is  not 
so  long  nor  nearly  so  bushy  as  that  of  the 


squirrel;  it  does  not  need  a  tail  to  balance 
and  steer  with  in  the  tree  tops;  and  since  it 
lives  in  the  ground,  a  bushy  tail  would 
soon  be  loaded  with  earth  and  would 
be  an  incubus  instead  of  a  thing  of  beauty. 
The  chipmunk  is  not  a  vocalist  like  the 
red  squirrel,  but  he  can  cluck  like  a  cuckoo 
and  chatter  gayly  or  cogently;  and  he  can 
make  himself  into  a  little  bunch  with  his 
tail  curved  up  his  back,  while  he  eats  a 
nut  from  both  his  hands.  He  is  even 
more  amusing  than  the  red  squirrel  in  this 
attitude,  probably  because  lie  is  more  in- 
nocent and  not  so  much  of  a  poseur.  His 
food  consists  of  all  kinds  of  nuts,  grain, 
and  fruit,  but  he  does  little  or  no  damage, 


Chipmunks  sometimes  cache  their  food 
under  stumps 


ai'^'      J^L^_^_ 

Dorothy  M.  Coinpton 

Common    chipmunk,    often    called    ground 
squirrel 

as  a  rule.  He  does  upon  occasion  rob  the 
flower  garden  of  valued  bulbs.  He  is 
pretty  and  distinctly  companionable,  and 
I  can  rejoice  that  I  have  had  him  and 
his  whole  family  as  my  near  neighbors  for 
many  years.  I  always  feel  especially  proud 
when  he  shows  his  confidence  by  scamper-- 
ing around  our  porch  floor  and  peeping 
in  at  our  windows,  as  if  taking  a  reciprocal 
interest  in  us. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Museum 
Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack  and 
William  P.  Alexander;  The  Pet  Boole,  by 
Anna  B.  Comstock;  Tami,  the  Story  of  a 
Chipmunk,  by  Bertha  C.  Cacly;  also,  read- 
ings on  page  214. 

LESSON  58 
THE  CHIPMUNK 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  chipmunk 
lives  more  on  the  ground  than  does  the 


squirrel;  its  colors  are  protective  and  it 
has  cheek-pouches  in  which  it  carries 
food,  and  also  soil  when  digging  its  bur- 
row. It  stores  food  for  winter  in  its 
den. 

METHOD  —  The  field  notebook  should 
be  the  basis  for  this  wrork.  Give  the  pupils 
an  outline  of  observations  to  be  made,  and 
ask  for  reports  now  and  then.  Meanwhile 
stimulate  interest  in  the  little  creatures  by 
reading  aloud  from  some  of  the  references 
given. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Do  you  see  the 
chipmunk  climbing  around  in  trees  like 
the  red  squirrel?  How  high  in  a  tree  have 
you  ever  seen  a  chipmunk? 

2.  What   are   the   chipmunk's    colors 
above  and  below?  How  many  stripes  has 
it?  Where  are  they  and  what  are  their 
colors?  Do  you  think  that  these  stripes 
conceal  the  animal  when  among  grasses 
and  bushes? 

3.  Compare  the  tails  of  the  chipmunk 
and  the  red  squirrel.  Which  is  the  longer 


MAMMALS  241 

and  bushier?  Tell  if  you  can  the  special 
advantage  to  the  chipmunk  in  having  this 
less  bushy  tail. 

4.  What  does  the  chipmunk  eat?  How 
does  it  earn-  its  food?  How  does  it  differ 
in  this  respect  from  the  red  squirrel?  Does 
it  store  its  food  for  winter  use?  How  does 
it  prepare  its  nuts?  How  does  it  hold  its 
food  while  eating? 

5.  Where  does  the  chipmunk  make  its 
home?  How  does  it  carry  away  soil  from 
its   burrow?    How   many    entrances    are 
there?  How  is  the  den  arranged  inside? 
Does  it  live  in  the  same  den  the  year 
round?  When  does  it  retire  to  its  den  in 
the  fall?  When  does  it  come  out  in  the 
spring? 

6.  Does  the  chipmunk  do  any  damage 
to  crops?  What  seeds  does  it  distribute? 
At  what  time  do  the  little  chipmunks  ap- 
pear in  the  spring? 


7.  Observe  carefully  the  different  tones 
of  the  chipmunk  and  compare  its  chatter- 
ing with  that  of  the  squirrel. 


Verne  Morton 


A  bat 


THE  LITTLE  BROWN  BAT 

His  small  umbrella,  quaintly  halved, 

Describing  in  the  air  an  arc  alike  inscrutable,— 

Elate  philosopher/  —  EMILY  DICKINSON 


Whoever  first  said  "  as  blind  as  a  bat/' 
surely  never  looked  a  bat  in  the  face,  or 
he  would  not  have  said  it.  The  deep-set, 
keen,  observant  eyes  are  quite  in  keeping 


with  the  alert  attitude  of  the  erect,  pointed 
ears;  while  the  pug  nose  and  the  wide- 
open  little  pink  bag  of  a  mouth,  set  with 
tiny,  sharp  teeth,  give  this  anomalous  little 


242 


ANIMALS 


animal  a  deliciously  impish  look.  Yet  how 
have  those  old  artists  belied  the  bat,  who 
fashioned  their  demons  after  his  pattern, 
ears,  eyes,  nose,  mouth,  wings,  and  all! 
The  superstitions  which  link  the  bat  with 
evil  malign  this  bright,  engaging  little 
creature.  There  are  no  other  wings  so 
wonderful  as  the  bat's;  the  thin  mem- 


_ j 


Hung  up  for  his  daytime  nap 


brane  is  equipped  with  sensitive  nerves 
which  inform  the  flier  of  the  objects  in 
his  path,  so  that  he  darts  among  the 
branches  of  trees  at  terrific  speed  and 
never  touches  a  twig;  a  blinded  bat  was 
once  set  free  in  a  room,  across  which 
threads  were  stretched,  and  he  flew  about 
without  ever  touching  one.  After  we  have 
tamed  one  of  these  little,  silky  flitter-mice 
we  soon  get  reconciled  to  his  wings  for 
he  proves  the  cunningest  of  pets;  he  soon 
learns  who  feeds  him,  and  is  a  constant 
source  of  entertainment. 

The  flight  of  the  bat  consists  of  darting 
hither  and  thither  with  incredible  swift- 
ness, and  making  sharp  turns  with  no  ap- 
parent effort.  Swifts  and  swallows  cannot 


compete  with  the  bat  in  wing  celerity  and 
agility;  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  these 
birds  also  catch  insects  on  the  wing  for 
food.  He  makes  a  collecting  net  of  the 
wing  membrane  stretched  between  the 
hind  legs  and  tail,  doubling  it  up  like  an 
apron  on  the  unfortunate  insects,  and 
then  reaching  down  and  gobbling  them 
up;  and  thus  he  is  always  doing  good  serv- 
ice to  us  on  summer  evenings  by  swallow- 
ing a  multitude  of  insects. 

The  short  fur  of  the  bat  is  as  soft  as 
silk,  and  covers  the  body  but  not  the 
wings;  the  plan  of  the  wing  is  something 
like  that  of  the  duck's  foot;  it  consists  of 
a  web  stretched  between  very  much  elon- 
gated fingers.  If  a  boy's  fingers  were  as  long 
in  proportion  as  a  bat's,  they  would  meas- 
ure four  feet.  Stretched  between  the  long 
fingers  is  a  thin,  rubbery  membrane, 
which  extends  back  to  the  ankles  and 
thence  back  to  the  tip  of  the  bony  tail; 
thus,  the  bat  has  a  winged  margin  all 
around  his  body.  Since  fingers  make  the 
framework,  it  is  the  thumb  that  projects 
from  the  front  angle  of  the  wing,  in  the 
form  of  a  very  serviceable  hook,  resem- 
bling that  used  by  a  one-armed  man  to 
replace  the  lost  member.  These  hooks  the 
bat  uses  in  many  ways.  He  drags  himself 
along  the  floor  with  their  aid,  or  he 
scratches  the  back  of  his  head  with  them, 
if  occasion  requires.  He  is  essentially  a 
creature  of  the  air  and  is  not  at  all  fitted 
for  walking;  his  knees  bend  backward  in 
an  opposite  direction  from  ours.  This  ren- 
ders him  unable  to  walk,  and  when  at- 
tempting to  do  so,  he  has  the  appearance 
of  "  scrabbling "  along  on  his  feet  and 
elbows.  When  thus  moving  he  keeps  his 
wings  fluttering  rapidly,  as  if  feeling  his 
way  in  the  dark,  and  his  movements  are 
trembly.  He  uses  his  teeth  to  aid  in  climb- 
ing. 

The  little  brown  bat's  wings  often  meas- 
ure nine  inches  from  tip  to  tip,  and  yet 
he  folds  them  so  that  they  scarcely  show; 
he  does  not  fold  them  like  a  fan,  but 
rather  like  a  pocket-knife.  The  hind  legs 
merely  act  as  a  support  for  the  side  wing, 
and  the  little  hip  bones  look  pitifully 
sharp.  The  membrane  reaches  only  to  the 


MAMMALS 


243 


ankle;  the  tiny  foot  projecting  from  it  is 
armed  with  five  wirelike  toes,  tipped  with 
sharp  hooked  claws.  It  is  by  these  claws 
that  he  hangs  when  resting  during  the 
day,  for  he  is  upside-downy  in  his  sleep- 
ing habits,  slumbering  during  the  daytime 
while  hanging  head  downward,  without 
any  inconvenience  from  a  rush  of  blood 
to  the  brain;  when  he  is  thus  suspended, 
the  tail  is  folded  down.  Sometimes  he 
hangs  by  one  hind  foot  and  a  front  hook; 
and  he  is  a  wee  thing  when  all  folded  to- 
gether and  hung  up,  with  his  nose  tucked 
between  his  hooked  thumbs,  in  a  very 
babyish  fashion. 

The  bat  is  very  particular  about  his 
personal  cleanliness.  People  who  regard 
the  bat  as  a  dirty  creature  might  well  look 
to  it  that  they  be  even  half  as  fastidious 
as  he.  He  washes  his  face  with  the  front 
part  of  his  wing,  and  then  licks  his  wash- 
cloth clean;  he  scratches  the  back  of  his 
head  with  his  hind  foot  and  then  licks  the 
foot;  when  hanging  head  down,  he  will 
reach  one  hind  foot  down  and  scratch 
behind  his  ear  with  an  aplomb  truly  comi- 
cal in  such  a  mite;  but  it  is  most  fun  of 
all  to  see  him  clean  his  wings;  he  seizes 
the  edges  in  his  mouth  and  stretches  and 
licks  the  membrane  until  we  are  sure  it 
is  made  of  silk  elastic,  for  he  pulls  and 
hauls  it  in  a  way  truly  amazing. 

The  bat  has  a  voice  which  sounds  like 
the  squeak  of  a  toy  wheelbarrow,  and  yet 
it  is  expressive  of  emotions.  He  squeaks 
in  one  tone  when  holding  conversation 
with  other  bats,  and  squeaks  quite  differ- 
ently when  seized  by  the  enemy. 

The  mother  bat  feeds  her  little  ones 
from  her  breasts  as  a  mouse  does  its  young, 
only  she  cradles  them  in  her  soft  wings 
while  so  doing;  often  she  takes  them  with 
her  when  she  goes  out  for  insects  in  the 
evenings;  they  cling  to  her  neck  during 
these  exciting  rides;  but  when  she  wishes 
to  work  unencumbered,  she  hangs  her 
tiny  youngsters  on  some  twig  and  goes 
back  for  them  later.  The  little  ones  are 
born  in  July  and  usually  occur  as  twins. 
During  the  winter,  some  bats  hibernate 
like  woodchucks  or  chipmunks.  They  se- 
lect for  winter  quarters  some  hollow  tree 


or  cave  or  other  protected  place.  They 
go  to  sleep  when  the  cold  weather  comes, 
and  do  not  awake  until  the  insects  are 
flying;  they  then  come  forth  in  the  eve- 
nings, or  perhaps  early  in  the  morning, 
and  do  their  best  to  rid  the  world  of  insect 
nuisances.  Others  migrate  to  the  south 
with  the  advent  of  cold  weather. 

There  are  many  senseless  fears  about 
the  bat;  for  instance,  that  he  likes  to  get 
tangled  in  a  lady's  tresses,  a  situation 
which  would  frighten  him  far  more  than 
the  lady;  or  that  he  brings  bedbugs  into 
the  house  when  he  enters  on  his  quest 
for  insects,  which  is  an  ungrateful  slander. 
Some  people  believe  that  all  bats  are  vam- 
pires, and  only  await  an  opportunity  to 
suck  blood  from  their  victims.  It  is  true 
that  in  South  America  there  are  two  spe- 
cies which  occasionally  attack  people  who 
are  careless  enough  to  sleep  with  their 
toes  uncovered,  but  feet  thus  injured  seem 
to  recover  speedily.  These  bats  do  little 
damage  to  people,  although  they  some- 
times pester  animals;  and  there  are  no 
vampires  in  the  United  States.  Our  bats, 
on  the  contrary,  are  innocent  and  bene- 
ficial to  man.  There  are  a  few  species  in 
our  country  which  have  little,  leaflike 
growths  on  the  end  of  the  nose;  these 
growths  serve  the  purpose  of  sensory 
organs. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Mother  Nature 
Series,  by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor 
Troxell,  Book  3,  In  Field  and  Forest;  The 
Museum  Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle 
Cormack  and  William  P.  Alexander;  The 
Pet  Book,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also, 
readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  59 
THE  BAT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  Although  the 
bat's  wings  are  very  different  from  those 
of  the  bird,  yet  it  is  a  rapid  and  agile 
flier.  It  flies  in  the  dusk  and  catches  great 
numbers  of  mosquitoes  and  other  trouble- 
some insects,  upon  which  it  feeds. 

METHOD  —  This  lesson  should  not  be 
given  unless  there  is  a  live  bat  to  illustrate 
it;  the  little  creature  can  be  cared  for  com- 


244 


ANIMALS 


fortably  in  a  cage  in  the  schoolroom,  as 
it  will  soon  learn  to  take  flies  or  bits  of 
raw  meat  when  presented  on  the  point 
of  a  pencil  or  toothpick.  Any  bat  will  do 
for  this  study,  although  the  little  brown 
bat  is  the  one  on  which  my  observations 
were  made. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  At    what   time    of 
day  do  we  see  bats  flying?  Describe  how 


Charles  E.  Mohr 

Little  brown  bats  hibernating  in  a  Pennsyl- 
vania cave 

the  bat's  flight  differs  from  that  of  birds. 
Why  do  bats  dart  about  so  rapidly? 

2.  Look  at  a  captive  bat  and  describe  its 
wings.  Can  you  see  what  makes  the  frame- 
work of  the  wings?  Do  you  see  the  three 
finger    bones    extending    out    into    the 
wings?  How  do  the  hind  legs  support  the 
wing?  The  tail?  Is  the  wing  membrane 
covered  with  fur?  Is  it  thick  and  leathery 
or  thin  and  silky  and  elastic?  How  does 
the  bat  fold  up  its  wings? 

3.  In  what  position  does  the  bat  rest? 
Does  it  ever  hang  by  its  thumb  hooks? 

4.  Can  you  see  whether  the  knees  of 
the  hind  legs  bend  upward  or  downward? 
How  does  the  bat  act  when  trying  to  walk 


or  crawl?  How  does  it  use  its  thumb  hooks 
in  doing  this? 

5.  What  does   the  bat  do  daytimes? 
Where  does  it  stay  during  the  day?  Do 
many  bats  congregate  together  in  their 
roosts? 

6.  Describe  the  bat's  head,  including 
the  ears,  eyes,  nose,  and  mouth.  What  is 
its  general  expression?  Do  you  think  it 
can  see  and  hear  well?  How  is  its  mouth 
fitted  for  catching  insects?  Does  it  shut 
its  mouth  while  chewing  or  keep  it  open? 
Do  you  think  that  bats  can  see  by  day- 
light? 

7.  What  noises  does  a  bat  make?  How 
does  it  act  if  you  try  to  touch  it?  Can  it 
bite  severely?  Can  you  understand  why 
the  Germans  call  it  a  flitter-mouse? 

8.  Do  you  know  how  the  mother  bat 
cares  for  her  young?  How  does  she  carry 
them?  At  what  time  of  year  may  we  ex- 
pect to  find  them? 

9.  When  making  its  toilet,  how  does  a 
bat  clean  its  wings?  Its  face?  Its  back?  Its 
feet?  Do  you  know  if  it  is  very  clean  in 
its  habits? 

10.  How  and  where  do  the  bats  pass 
the  winter?  How  are  they  beneficial  to  us? 
Are  they  ever  harmful?  What  are  some 
superstitions  about  the  bat? 

Nature-study  should  not  be  unrelated 
to  the  child's  life  and  circumstances.  It 
stands  for  directness  and  naturalness.  It 
is  astonishing  when  one  comes  to  think 
of  it,  how  indirect  and  how  remote  from 
the  lives  of  pupils  much  of  our  education 
has  been.  Geography  still  often  begins 
with  the  universe,  and  finally,  perhaps, 
comes  down  to  some  concrete  and  familiar 
object  or  scene  that  the  pupil  can  under- 
stand. Arithmetic  has  to  do  with  broker- 
age and  partnerships  and  partial  payments 
and  other  things  that  mean  nothing  to 
the  child.  Botany  begins  with  cells  and 
protoplasm  and  cryptogams.  History  deals 
with  political  and  military  affairs,  and  only 
rarely  comes  down  to  physical  facts  and 
to  those  events  that  express  the  real  lives 
of  the  people;  and  yet  political  and  social 
affairs  are  only  the  results  of  expressions 
of  the  way  in  which  people  live.  Readers 


MAMMALS 


245 


begin  with  mere  literature  or  with  stories 
of  scenes  the  child  will  never  see.  Of 
course  these  statements  are  meant  to  be 
only  general,  as  illustrating  what  is  even 
yet  a  great  fault  in  educational  methods. 
There  are  many  exceptions,  and  these  are 


becoming  commoner.  Surely,  the  best  edu- 
cation is  that  which  begins  with  the  ma- 
terials at  hand.  A  child  knows  a  stone 
before  it  knows  the  earth. 

—  "  THE  NATURE-STUDY  IDEA/' 
L.  H.  BAILEY 


THE  SKUNK 


Those  who  have  had  experience  with 
this  animal  surely  are  glad  that  it  is  small; 
and  the  wonder  always  is  that  so  little  a 
creature  can  make  such  a  large  impression 
upon  the  atmosphere.  A  fully  grown  skunk 
is  about  two  feet  long;  its  body  is  covered 
with  long,  shining,  rather  coarse  hair,  and 
the  tail,  which  is  carried  like  a  flag  in  the 
air,  is  very  large  and  bushy.  In  color,  the 
fur  is  sometimes  entirely  black,  but  most 
often  has  a  white  patch  on  the  back  of  the 
neck,  with  two  stripes  extending  down 
the  back  and  along  the  sides  to  the  tail; 
the  face,  also,  has  a  white  stripe. 

The  skunk  has  a  long  head  and  a  rather 
pointed  snout;  its  front  legs  are  very  much 
shorter  than  its  hind  legs,  which  gives  it 
a  very  peculiar  gait.  Its  forefeet  are  armed 
with  long,  strong  claws,  with  which  it  digs 
its  burrow,  which  is  usually  made  in  light 
soil.  It  also  often  makes  its  home  in  some 
crevice  in  rocks,  or  even  takes  possession  of 
an  abandoned  woodchuck's  hole;  or  trust- 
ing to  its  immunity  from  danger,  makes  its 
home  under  the  barn.  In  the  fall  it  be- 
comes very  fat,  and  during  the  early  part 
of  winter  it  hibernates  within  its  den;  it 
comes  out  during  the  thaws  of  winter  and 
early  spring. 

The  young  skunks  appear  in  May;  they 
are  born  in  an  enlarged  portion  of  the 
burrow,  where  a  nice  bed  of  grass  and 
leaves  is  made  for  them;  the  skunk  is  scru- 
pulously neat  about  its  own  nest.  The 
young  skunks  are  very  active  and  inter- 
esting to  watch  when  playing  together 
like  kittens. 

The  skunk  belongs  to  the  same  family 
as  the  mink  and  weasel,  which  also  give 
off  a  disagreeable  odor  when  angry.  The 
fetid  material  which  is  the  skunk's  defense 
is  contained  in  two  glands  near  the  base 


of  the  tail.  These  little  glands  are  about 
the  size  of  marbles,  and  the  quantity  of 
liquid  forced  from  them  in  a  discharge  is 
considerable  and  it  will  permeate  the  at- 
mosphere with  its  odor  for  a  distance 
of  half  a  mile  down  wind.  Because  this 
discharge  is  so  disagreeable  to  all  other 
creatures,  the  skunk's  intelligence  has  not 
become  so  highly  developed  as  has  that  of 
some  animals.  It  has  not  been  obliged  to 
rely  upon  its  cunning  to  escape  its  ene- 
mies, and  has  therefore  never  developed 


Verne  Morton 

A  skunk.  Note  the  long,  pointed  head  and  the 
bushy  tail 

either  fear  or  cleverness.  It  marches  abroad 
without  haste,  confident  that  every  crea- 
ture which  sees  it  will  give  it  plenty  of 
room.  It  is  a  night  prowler,  although  it  is 
not  averse  to  a  daytime  promenade.  The 
white  upon  its  fur  gives  warning  at  night 
that  here  is  an  animal  which  had  best  be 
left  alone.  This  immunity  from  attack 
makes  the  skunk  careless  in  learning  wis- 
dom from  experience;  it  never  learns  to 
avoid  a  trap,  or  the  dangers  of  a  railway 
or  trolley  track.  It  plods  deliberately  across 
highways,  leaving  its  protection  to  the 
motorist. 


246 


The  skunk's  food  consists  largely  of 
fruits  and  berries,  insects,  mice,  snakes, 
frogs,  and  other  small  animals.  It  also 
destroys  the  eggs  and  young  of  birds  which 
nest  upon  the  ground.  It  uses  its  strong 
forepaws  in  securing  its  prey.  Dr.  Mer- 
riam,  who  made  pets  of  young  skunks 
after  removing  their  scent  capsules,  found 
them  very  interesting.  He  says  of  one 
which  was  named  "Meph'':  "  We  used 
to  walk  through  the  woods  to  a  large 


ANIMALS 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Museum 
Comes  to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack  and 
William  P.  Alexander;  The  Pet  Book,  by 
Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  readings  on 
page  214. 


Doubleday,  Page  &  Co. 

Pet  skunks 

meadow  that  abounded  in  grasshoppers. 
Here,  Meph  would  fairly  revel  in  his  fa- 
vorite food,  and  it  was  rich  sport  to  watch 
his  manoeuvres.  When  a  grasshopper 
jumped,  he  jumped,  and  I  have  seen  him 
with  as  many  as  three  in  his  mouth  and 
two  under  his  forepaws  at  the  same  time." 

The  only  injury  which  the  skunk  is 
likely  to  do  farmers  is  the  raiding  of  hens' 
nests  or  the  beehives;  this  can  be  obviated 
by  properly  housing  the  poultry  and  bees. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  skunk  is  of  great 
use  in  destroying  injurious  insects  and 
mice.  Often  when  skunks  burrow  beneath 
barns,  they  completely  rid  the  place  of 
mice.  Skunk  fur  is  very  valuable  and  is 
sold,  surprisingly,  under  its  own  name;  it 
is  exported  in  great  quantities  to  Europe. 

The  skunk  takes  short  steps,  and  goes  so 
slowly  that  it  makes  a  double  track,  the 
imprints  being  very  close  together.  The 
foot  makes  a  longer  track  than  that  of  the 
cat,  as  the  skunk  is  plantigrade;  that  is, 
it  walks  upon  its  palms  and  heels  as  well 
as  its  toes. 


LESSON  60 

THE  SKUNK 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  skunk  has  de- 
pended so  long  upon  protecting  itself  from 
its  enemies  by  its  disagreeable  odor  that 
it  has  become  stupid  and  unadaptable, 
and  seems  never  to  be  able  to  learn  to 
keep  off  railroad  tracks  or  highways.  It  is 
a  very  beneficial  animal  to  the  farmer  be- 
cause its  food  consists  so  largely  of  injuri- 
ous insects  and  rodents. 

METHOD —  The  questions  should  be 
given  the  pupils  and  they  should  answer 
them  from  personal  observations  or  in- 
quiries. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  How  large  is  a 
skunk?  Describe  its  fur.  Where  does  the 
black  and  white  occur  in  the  fur?  Of  what 
use  is  the  white  to  the  skunk?  Is  the  fur 
valuable?  What  is  its  commercial  name? 

2.  What  is  the  shape  of  the  skunk's 
head?  The  general  shape  of  the  body?  The 
tail?  Are  the  front  legs  longer  or  shorter 
than  the  hind  legs?  Describe  the  front 
feet.  For  what  are  they  used? 

3.  Where  and  how  does  the  skunk  make 
its  nest?  Does  it  sleep  like  a  wooclchuck 
during  the  winter?  What  is  its  food?  How 
does  it  catch  its  prey?  Does  it  hunt  for 
its  food  during  the  day  or  the  night?  Does 
the  skunk  ever  hurry?  Is  it  afraid?  How 
does  it  protect  itself  from  its  enemies? 
Do  you  think  that  the  skunk's  freedom 
from  fear  has  rendered  the  animal  less 
intelligent? 

4.  At  what  time  do  the  skunk  kittens 
appear?  Have  you  ever  seen  little  skunks 
playing?  If  so,  describe  their  antics.  How 
is  the  nest  made  soft  for  the  young  ones? 

5.  How  does  the  skunk  benefit  farmers? 
Does  it  ever  do  them  any  injury?  Do  you 
think  that  it  does  more  good  than  harm? 

6.  Describe  the  skunk's  track  as  fol- 
lows: How  many  toes  show  in  the  track? 
Does  the  palm  or  heel  show?  Are  the  tracks 


MAMMALS 


247 


near  together?  Do  they  form  a  single  or 
a  double  line? 

Few  animals  are  so  silent  as  the  skunk. 
Zoological  works  contain  no  information 
as  to  its  voice,  and  the  essayists  rarely 
mention  it  except  by  implication.  Mr. 
Burroughs  says:  "  The  most  silent  creature 
known  to  me,  he  makes  no  sound,  so  far  as 
I  have  observed,  save  a  diffuse,  impatient 
noise,  like  that  produced  by  beating  your 
hand  with  a  whisk-broom,  when  the  farm- 
dog  has  discovered  his  retreat  in  the  stone 
fence."  Rowland  Robinson  tells  us  that: 
"  The  voiceless  creature  sometimes  fright- 
ens the  belated  farm-boy,  whom  he  curi- 
ously follows  with  a  mysterious  hollow 
beating  of  his  feet  upon  the  ground/7 
Thoreau,  as  has  been  mentioned,  heard 
one  keep  up  a  "  fine  grunting,  like  a  little 
pig  or  a  squirrel ";  but  he  seems  to  have 


misunderstood  altogether  a  singular  loud 
patting  sound  heard  repeatedly  on  the 
frozen  ground  under  the  wall,  which  he 
also  listened  to,  for  he  thought  it  "  had  to 
do  with  getting  its  food,  patting  the  earth 
to  get  the  insects  or  worms."  Probably  he 
would  have  omitted  this  guess  if  he  could 
have  edited  his  diary  instead  of  leaving 
that  to  be  done  after  his  death.  The  pat- 
ting is  evidently  merely  a  nervous  sign  of 
impatience  or  apprehension,  similar  to  the 
well-known  stamping  with  the  hind  feet 
indulged  in  by  rabbits,  in  this  case  prob- 
ably a  menace  like  a  doubling  of  the  fists, 
as  the  hind  legs,  with  which  they  kick, 
are  their  only  weapons.  The  skunk,  then, 
is  not  voiceless,  but  its  voice  is  weak  and 
querulous,  and  it  is  rarely  if  ever  heard  ex- 
cept in  the  expression  of  anger. 

—  "  WILD  NEIGHBORS," 
ERNEST  INGERSOLL 


General  Biological  Supply  House,  Chicago 

A  raccoon.  In  the  picture  the  heavy  dark  portion  over  the  top  of  his  head  is  caused  by  a 
shadow  —  but  he  does  have  a  black  mask  across  his  eyes 


THE  RACCOON 


None  other  of  our  little  brothers  of  the 
forest  has  such  a  mischievous  countenance 
as  the  coon.  The  black  patch  across  the 


face  and  surrounding  the  eyes  like  large 
goggles,  and  the  black  line  extending  from 
the  long,  inquisitive  nose  directly  up  the 


ANIMALS 


Treed 

forehead  give  the  coon's  face  an  anxious 
expression;  and  the  keenness  of  the  big, 
beady,  black  eyes  and  the  alert,  "  sassy  " 
looking,  broadly  triangular  ears,  convince 
one  that  the  anxiety  depicted  in  the  face 
is  anxiety  lest  something  that  should  not 
be  done  be  left  undone;  and  I  am  sure 
that  anyone  who  has  had  experience  with 
pet  coons  will  aver  that  their  acts  do  not 
belie  their  looks. 

What  country  child,  wandering  by  the 
brook  and  watching  its  turbulence  in  early 
spring,  has  not  viewed  with  awe  a  foot- 
print on  the  muddy  banks  looking  as  if 
it  were  made  by  the  foot  of  a  very  little 
baby?  The  first  one  I  ever  saw  I  promptly 
concluded  was  made  by  the  foot  of  a  brook 
fairy.  However,  the  coon  is  no  fairy;  it  is 
a  rather  heavy,  logy  animal  and,  like  the 
bear  and  skunk,  is  plantigrade,  walking  on 
the  entire  foot  instead  of  on  the  toes,  like 
a  cat  or  dog.  The  hind  foot  is  long,  with 
a  well-marked  heel,  and  five  comparatively 
short  toes,  giving  it  a  remarkable  resem- 
blance to  a  human  foot.  The  front  foot 
is  smaller  and  looks  like  a  wide,  little  hand, 
with  four  long  fingers  and  a  rather  short 
thumb.  The  claws  are  strong  and  sharp. 
The  soles  of  the  feet  and  the  palms  of  the 
hands  look  as  if  they  were  covered  with 
black  kid,  while  the  feet  above  and  the 
backs  of  the  hands  are  covered  with  short 
fur.  Coon  tracks  are  likely  to  be  found  dur- 


ing the  thawing  days  of  winter,  along  some 
stream  or  the  borders  of  swamps,  often 
following  the  path  made  by  cattle.  The 
full-length  track  is  about  two  inches  long; 
as  the  coon  puts  the  hind  foot  in  the 
track  made  by  the  front  foot  on  the  same 
side,  only  the  print  of  the  hind  feet  is 
left,  showing  plainly  five  toe  prints  and 
the  heel.  The  tracks  may  vary  from  one- 
half  inch  to  one  foot  or  more  apart  de- 
pending on  how  fast  the  animal  is  going; 
when  it  runs  it  goes  on  its  toes,  but  when 
walking  it  sets  the  heel  down;  the  tracks 
are  not  in  so  straight  a  line  as  those  made 
by  the  cat.  Sometimes  it  goes  at  a  slow 
jump,  when  the  prints  of  the  hind  feet 
are  paired,  and  between  and  behind  them 
are  the  prints  of  the  two  front  feet. 

The  coon  is  covered  with  long,  rather 
coarse  hair,  so  long  as  almost  to  drag  when 
the  animal  is  walking;  it  really  has  two 
different  kinds  of  hair,  the  long,  coarse, 
gray  hair,  blackened  at  the  tips,  covering 
the  fine,  short,  grayish  or  brownish  under- 
coat. The  very  handsome  bushy  tail  is 
ringed  with  black  and  gray. 

The  raccoon  feeds  on  almost  anything 
eatable,  except  herbage.  It  has  a  special 
predilection  for  corn  in  the  milk  stage 
and,  in  attaining  this  sweet  and  tooth- 
some luxury,  it  strips  down  the  husks  and 
often  breaks  the  plant,  doing  much  dam- 
age. It  is  also  fond  of  poultry  and  often 
raids  hen  houses;  it  also  destroys  birds' 
nests  and  the  young,  thus  doing  harm  to 
the  farmer  by  killing  both  domestic  and 
wild  birds.  It  is  especially  fond  of  fish  and 
is  an  adept  at  sitting  on  the  shore  and 
catching  them  with  its  hands;  it  likes  tur- 
tle eggs,  crayfish,  and  snakes;  it  haunts  the 
bayous  of  the  Gulf  Coast  for  the  oysters 
which  grow  there;  it  is  also  a  skillful  frog 
catcher.  Although  fond  of  animal  diet, 
it  is  also  fond  of  fruit,  especially  of  berries 
and  wild  grapes.  It  usually  chooses  for  a 
home  a  hollow  tree  or  a  cavern  in  a  ledge 
near  a  stream,  because  of  its  liking  for 
water  creatures. 

Coons  when  in  captivity  have  been 
known  to  wash  their  meat  before  eating 
it.  I  have  watched  a  pet  coon  perform  this 
act;  he  would  take  a  piece  of  meat  in  his 


MAMMALS 


249 


hands,  dump  it  into  the  pan  of  drinking 
water  and  souse  it  up  and  down  a  few 
times;  then  he  would  get  into  the  pan  with 
his  splay  feet  and  roll  the  meat  beneath 
and  between  them,  meanwhile  looking 
quite  unconcernedly  at  his  surroundings, 
as  if  washing  the  meat  were  an  act  too  me- 
chanical to  occupy  his  mind.  After  the 
meat  had  been  soaked  until  it  was  white 
and  flabby,  he  would  take  it  in  his  hands 
and  hang  onto  it  with  a  tight  grip  while  he 
pulled  off  pieces  with  his  teeth;  or  some- 
times he  would  hold  it  with  his  feet,  and 
use  hands  as  well  as  teeth  in  tearing  it 
apart.  The  coon's  teeth  are  very  much 
like  those  of  the  cat,  having  long,  sharp 
tushes  or  canines,  and  sharp,  wedge-shaped 
grinding  teeth,  which  cut  as  well  as  grind. 
After  eating,  the  pet  coon  always  washed 
his  feet  by  splashing  them  in  the  pan. 

It  is  an  amusing  sight  to  watch  a  coon 
arrange  itself  for  a  nap,  on  a  branch  or 
in  the  fork  of  a  tree;  it  adapts  its  fat  body 
to  the  unevenness  of  the  bed  with  ap- 
parent comfort;  it  then  tucks  its  nose 
down  between  its  paws  and  curls  its  tail 
about  itself,  making  a  huge,  furry  ball. 
In  all  probability,  the  rings  of  gray  and 
black  on  the  tail  serve  as  protective  color 
to  the  animal  sleeping  in  a  tree  during 
the  daytime,  when  sunshine  and  shadow 
glance  down  between  the  leaves  with  ever- 
changing  light.  The  coon  spends  much 
of  its  day  asleep  in  some  such  situation, 
and  comes  forth  at  night  to  seek  its  food. 

In  the  fall,  the  coon  lays  on  fat  enough 
to  last  it  during  its  winter  sleep.  Usually 
several  inhabit  the  same  nest  in  winter, 
lying  curled  up  together  in  a  hollow  tree, 
and  remain  dormant  during  the  most  se- 
vere weeks  of  winter,  coming  out  during 
periods  of  thaw. 

The  young  are  born  in  April;  there  are 
from  three  to  six  in  a  litter;  they  are  blind 
and  helpless  at  first,  and  are  cared  for 
carefully  by  their  parents;  the  family  re- 
mains together  until  fall.  If  removed  from 
their  parents  the  young  ones  cry  pitifully, 
almost  like  babies.  The  cry  or  whistle  of 
the  fully  grown  coon  is  anything  but  a 
happy  sound,  and  is  quite  impossible  to 
describe.  I  have  been  awakened  by  it  many 


a  night  in  camp,  and  it  always  sounded 
strange,  taking  on  each  time  new  quavers 
and  whimperings.  As  a  cry,  it  is  first  cousin 
to  that  of  the  screech  owl. 

The  stories  of  pet  coons  are  many.  I 
knew  one  which,  chained  in  a  yard,  would 
lie  curled  up  near  its  post  looking  like  an 
innocent  stone  except  for  one  eye  kept 
watchfully  open.  Soon  a  hen  filled  with 
curiosity  would  come  warily  near,  look- 
ing longingly  at  remains  of  food  in  the 
pan;  the  coon  would  make  no  move  until 
the  disarmed  biddy  had  come  close  to  the 
pan.  Then  there  would  be  a  scramble 
and  a  squawk  and  with  astonishing  celerity 
he  would  wring  her  neck  and  strip  off  her 
feathers.  Another  pet  coon  was  allowed 
to  range  over  the  house  at  will,  and  finally 
had  to  be  sent  away  because  he  had 
learned  to  open  every  door  in  the  house, 
including  cupboard  doors,  and  could  also 
open  boxes  and  drawers  left  unlocked;  and 
I  have  always  believed  he  could  have 
learned  to  unlock  drawers  if  he  had  been 
given  the  key.  All  coons  are  very  curious, 
and  one  way  of  trapping  them  is  to  sus- 
pend above  the  trap  a  bit  of  bright  tin;  in 
studying  this  glittering  mystery,  they  for 
get  all  about  traps. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Mother  Nature 
Series,  by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor 


Marion  E.  Wesp 

This  pet  raccoon  is  angry  because  she  has 
been  taken  from  the  shoulder  of  her  mistress 
and  placed  on  a  post  to  have  her  picture  taken 


ANIMALS 


Troxell,  Book  i,  Baby  Animals,  Book  3, 
In  Field  and  Forest;  The  Museum  Comes 
to  Life,  by  Maribelle  Cormack  and  Wil- 
liam P.  Alexander;  The  Pet  Boole,  by  Anna 
B.  Comstock;  Ringtail,  by  Alice  C.  Gall 
and  F.  H.  Crew;  also,  readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  61 
THE  RACCOON 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  raccoon  lives 
in  hollow  trees  OT  caves  along  the  banks 
of  streams.  It  sleeps  during  the  day  and 
seeks  its  food  at  night.  It  sleeps  during 
the  winter. 

METHOD  —  If  there  are  raccoons  in  the 
vicinity,  ask  the  older  boys  to  look  for 
their  tracks  near  the  streams  and  to  de- 
scribe them  very  carefully  to  the  class. 
The  ideal  method  of  studying  the  animal 
is  to  have  a  pet  coon  where  the  children 
may  watch  at  leisure  its  entertaining  and 
funny  performances.  If  this  is  impossible, 
then  follow  the  less  desirable  method  of 
having  the  pupils  read  about  the  habits 
of  the  coon  and  thus  arouse  their  interest 
and  open  their  eyes,  so  that  they  may  make 
observations  of  their  own  when  oppor- 
tunity offers.  I  would  suggest  the  follow- 
ing topics  for  oral  or  written  work  in 
English: 

"How  and  Where  Coons  Live  and 
What  They  Do  ";  "  The  Autobiography 
of  a  Coon  One  Year  Old  ";  "  The  Queer 
Antics  of  Pet  Coons ";  "  Stories  of  the 
Coon's  Relative,  the  Bear/7 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Where  have  you 
found  raccoon  tracks?  How  do  they  differ 
from  those  of  fox  or  dog?  How  far  are  the 
foot  prints  apart?  Can  you  see  the  heel 
and  toe  prints?  Do  you  see  the  tracks  of 
all  four  feet?  Are  the  tracks  in  a  straight 
line  like  those  of  the  cat?  What  is  the 
size  of  the  track,  the  length,  the  breadth? 


2.  What  do  coons  eat  and  how  do  they 
get  their  food?  Which  of  our  crops  are 
they  likely  to  damage?  What  other  dam- 
age do  they  do?  Have  you  ever  heard  coons 
cry  or  whistle  during  August  nights  in  the 
cornfields? 

3.  Why  do  raccoons  like  to  live  near 
the  water?  What  do  they  find  of  interest 
there?  How  do  they  prepare  their  meat 
before  eating  it?  How  does  a  coon  handle 
its  meat  while  eating  it? 

4.  What  kind  of  fur  has  the  coon?  Why 
does  it  need  such  a  heavy  covering?  De- 
scribe the  color  of  the  fur.  Describe  the 
tail.  Of  what  use  is  such  a  large  and  bushy 
tail  to  this  animal? 

5.  Describe  the  coon's  face.  How  is  it 
marked?  What  is  its  expression?  Describe 
the  eyes,  ears,  and  nose.  Has  it  teeth  re- 
sembling those  of  the  cat  and  dog? 

6.  Describe  the  coon's  feet.  How  many 
toes  on  the  front  feet?  How  many  on  the 
hind  feet?  How  does  this  differ  from  the 
cat  and  dog?  How  clo  the  front  and  hind 
feet  differ  in  appearance?  Can  both  be 
used  as  hands? 

7.  How  do  coons  arrange  themselves 
for  a  nap  in  a  tree?  How  do  they  cover 
the  head?  How  is  the  tail  used?  Do  you 
think  this  bushy  tail  used  in  this  way 
would  help  to  keep  the  animal  warm  in 
winter?  Do  coons  sleep  most  by  day  or  by 
night? 

8.  At  what  time  of  year  are  coons  fat- 
test? Leanest?  Why?  Do  they  ever  come 
out  of  their  nests  in  winter?  Do  they  live 
together  or  singly  in  winter? 

9.  At  what  time  of  year  are  the  young 
coons  born?  Do  you  know  how  they  look 
when  they  are  young?  How  are  they  cared 
for  by  their  parents? 

10.  Are  the  coon's  movements  slow  or 
fast?  What  large  animal  is  a  near  relative 
of  the  coon? 


THE  WOLF 


The  study  of  the  wolf  should  precede 
the  lessons  on  the  fox  and  the  dog.  After 
becoming  familiar  with  the  habits  of 
wolves,  the  pupils  will  be  much  better 
able  to  understand  the  nature  of  the  dog 


and  its  life  as  a  wild  animal.  In  most  lo- 
calities, the  study  of  the  wolf  must,  of 
course,  be  a  matter  of  reading,  unless  the 
pupils  have  an  opportunity  to  study  the 
animal  in  zoological  gardens. 


MAMMALS 

It  might  be  well  to  begin  this  lesson 
on  the  wolf  with  a  talk  about  the  gray 
wolves  which  our  ancestors  had  to  con- 
tend with,  and  also  with  stories  of  the 
coyote  or  prairie  wolf  which  has  learned 
to  adapt  itself  to  civilization  and  flourishes 
in  the  regions  west  of  the  Rocky  Moun- 
tains, despite  men  and  dogs.  Literature  is 
rich  in  wolf  stories.  Although  Kipling's 
famous  Mowgli  Stories  belong  to  the 
realm  of  fiction,  yet  they  contain  inter- 
esting accounts  of  the  habits  of  the  wolves 
of  India,  and  are  based  upon  the  hunter's 
and  tracker's  knowledge  of  these  animals. 
We  have  many  thrillingly  interesting  sto- 
ries in  our  own  literature  which  deal  with 
our  native  wolves.  Some  of  the  best  are 
noted  in  the  suggested  reading  at  the  end 
of  this  section. 


K  H.  McCleery 

Wolves,  seldom  seen  now,  once  ranged  over 
many  parts  of  North  America 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

A  captive  wolf 


From  some  or  all  of  these  stories,  the 
pupils  should  get  information  about  the 
habits  of  the  wolves.  This  information 
may  be  incorporated  in  an  essay  or  an 
oral  exercise  and  should  cover  the  follow- 
ing points:  Where  do  the  wolves  live? 
On  what  do  they  feed?  How  do  they  get 
their  prey?  How  do  they  call  to  each 
other?  Description  of  the  den  where  the 
young  are  reared.  The  wolfs  cleverness 
in  eluding  hunters  and  traps. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Animal  Heroes, 
Lives  of  the  Hunted,  and  Wild  Animals 
I  Have  Known,  all  by  Ernest  Thompson 
Seton;  Watched  by  Wild  Animals,  by 
Enos  A.  Mills;  also,  readings  on  page  214. 


THE  FOX 


Do  we  not  always,  on  a  clear  morning 
of  winter,  feel  a  thrill  that  must  have 
something  primitive  in  its  quality  at  see- 
ing certain  tracks  in  the  snow  that  some- 
how suggest  wildness  and  freedom!  Such 
is  the  track  of  the  fox.  Although  it  is 
somewhat  like  that  of  a  small  dog,  yet  it 
is  very  different.  The  fox  has  longer  legs 
than  most  dogs  of  his  weight,  and  there 
is  more  of  freedom  in  his  track  and  more 
of  strength  and  agility  expressed  in  it.  His 
gait  is  usually  an  easy  lope;  this  places  the 


imprint  of  three  feet  in  a  line,  one  ahead 
of  another,  but  the  fourth  is  off  a  little 
at  one  side,  as  if  to  keep  the  balance. 

The  fox  lives  in  a  den  or  burrow.  The 
only  fox  home  which  I  ever  saw  was  a 
rather  deep  cave  beneath  the  roots  of  a 
sturnp,  and  there  was  no  burrow  or  retreat 
beyond  it.  However,  foxes  often  select 
woodchuck  burrows,  or  make  burrows  of 
their  own,  and  if  they  are  caught  within, 
they  can  dig  rapidly,  as  many  a  hunter  can 
attest.  The  mother  usually  selects  an  open 


ANIMALS 


Red  fox  cubs 

place  as  a  den  for  the  young  foxes;  often 
an  open  field  or  sidehill  is  chosen  for 
this.  The  den  is  carpeted  with  grass  and 
is  a  very  comfortable  place  for  the  fox 
puppies. 

The  face  of  the  red  fox  shows  plainly 
why  he  has  been  able  to  cope  with  man, 
and  thrive  despite  and  because  of  him. 
If  ever  a  face  showed  cunning,  it  is  his. 
Its  pointed,  slender  nose  gives  it  an  ex- 
pression of  extreme  cleverness,  while  the 
width  of  the  head  between  the  upstand- 
ing, triangular  ears  gives  room  for  a  brain 
of  power.  In  color  the  fox  is  russet-red,  the 
hind  quarters  being  grayish.  The  legs  are 
black  outside  and  white  inside;  the  throat 
is  white,  and  the  broad,  triangular  ears  are 
tipped  with  black.  The  glory  of  the  fox  is 
his  "  brush/'  as  the  beautiful,  bushy  tail 
is  called.  This  is  red,  with  black  toward 
the  end  and  is  white-tipped.  This  tail  is 
not  merely  for  beauty,  for  it  affords  the  fox 
warmth  during  the  winter,  as  anyone  who 
has  observed  the  way  it  is  wrapped  around 
the  sleeping  animal  may  see.  But  this 
bushy  tail  is  a  disadvantage,  if  it  becomes 
bedraggled  and  heavy  with  snow  and 
sleet,  when  the  hounds  are  giving  close 
chase  to  its  owner.  The  silver  fox  and  the 
black  fox  are  color  phases  of  the  red  fox. 

The  fox  is  an  inveterate  hunter  of  the 
animals  of  the  field;  meadow  mice,  rab- 
bits, woodchucks,  frogs,  snakes,  and  grass- 
hoppers are  all  acceptable  food;  he  is  also 
destructive  of  birds.  His  fondness  for  the 
latter  has  given  him  a  bad  reputation  with 
the  farmer  because  of  his  attacks  on  poul- 
try. Not  only  will  he  raid  hen-roosts  if 
he  can  force  entrance,  but  he  catches 
many  fowls  in  the  summer  when  they  are 
wandering  through  the  fields.  The  way 
he  carries  the  heavy  burden  of  his  larger 


prey  shows  his  cleverness:  he  slings  a  hen 
or  a  goose  over  his  shoulders,  keeping  the 
head  in  his  mouth  to  steady  the  burden. 
Mr.  Cram  says,  in  American  Animals: 

"  Yet,  although  the  farmer  and  the  fox 
are  such  inveterate  enemies,  they  manage 
to  benefit  each  other  in  a  great  many  ways 
quite  unintentionally.  The  fox  destroys 
numberless  field  mice  and  woodchucks 
for  the  farmer  and  in  return  the  farmer 
supplies  him  with  poultry,  and  builds  con- 
venient bridges  over  streams  and  wet 
places,  which  the  fox  crosses  oftener  than 
the  farmer,  for  he  is  as  sensitive  as  a  cat 
about  getting  his  feet  wet.  On  the  whole, 
I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  the  fox  gets 
the  best  part  of  the  exchange,  for,  while 
the  farmer  shoots  at  him  on  every  occa- 
sion, and  hunts  him  with  dogs  in  the  win- 
ter, he  has  cleared  the  land  of  wolves  and 
panthers,  so  that  foxes  are  probably  safer 
than  before  any  land  was  ploughed.7' 

The  bark  of  the  fox  is  a  high,  sharp 
yelp,  more  like  the  bark  of  the  coyote 
than  of  the  dog.  There  is  no  doubt  a  con- 
siderable range  of  meaning  in  the  fox's 
language,  of  which  we  are  ignorant.  He 
growls  when  angry,  and  when  pleased  he 
smiles  like  a  dog  and  wags  his  beautiful 
tail. 

Many  are  the  wiles  of  the  fox  to  mislead 
dogs  following  his  track:  he  often  retraces 
his  own  steps  for  a  few  yards  and  then 
makes  a  long  sidewise  jump;  the  dogs  go 
on,  up  to  the  end  of  the  trail  pocket,  and 
try  in  vain  to  get  the  scent  from  that  point. 
Sometimes  he  walks  along  the  top  rails 
of  fences  or  takes  the  high  and  dry  ridges 
where  the  scent  will  not  remain;  he  often 


Verne  Morton 


The  attentive  ears  and  bright  eyes  of  these 
fox  cubs  show  a  keen  interest  in  their  sur- 
roundings 


MAMMALS 


253 


follows  roads  and  beaten  paths  and  also 
goes  around  and  around  in  the  midst  of 
a  herd  of  cattle  or  sheep  so  that  his  scent 
is  hidden;  he  crosses  streams  on  logs  and 
invents  various  other  devices  too  numer- 
ous and  intricate  to  describe.  When 
chased  by  dogs,  he  naturally  runs  in  a 
circle,  probably  so  as  not  to  be  too  far 
from  home.  If  there  are  young  ones  in  the 
den,  the  father  fox  leads  the  hounds  far 
away,  into  the  next  county  if  possible. 
Perhaps  one  of  the  most  clever  tricks  of 
the  fox  is  to  make  friends  with  the  dogs. 
I  have  known  of  two  instances  where  a 
dog  and  fox  were  daily  companions  and 
playfellows. 

The  young  foxes  are  born  in  the  spring. 
They  are  gray  and  woolly  at  first  and  are 
fascinating  little  creatures,  being  exceed- 
ingly playful  and  active.  Their  parents  are 
very  devoted  to  them,  and  during  all  their 
puppyhood  the  mother  fox  is  a  menace 
to  the  poultry  of  the  region,  because  the 
necessity  of  feeding  her  rapidly  growing 
litter  is  upon  her. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Biography  of  a 
Silver  Fox,  by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton; 
The  Fall  of  the  Year,  by  Dallas  L.  Sharp; 
Mother  Nature  Series,  by  Fannie  W. 
Dunn  and  Eleanor  Troxell,  Book  i,  Baby 
Animals;  The  Pet  Boofc,  by  Anna  B.  Corn- 
stock;  Red  Fox,  by  Charles  G.  D.  Roberts; 
Skinny,  the  Gray  Fox,  by  Agnes  A.  At- 
kinson; Sprite,  the  Story  of  a  Red  Fox, 
by  Ernest  H.  Baynes;  Wild  Animals  I 
Have  Known,  by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton; 
also,  readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  62 
THE  Fox 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  red  fox  is  so 
clever  that  it  has  been  able,  in  many  parts 
of  our  country,  to  maintain  itself  despite 
dogs  and  men. 

METHOD  — This  lesson  is  likely  to  be 
given  largely  from  hearsay  or  reading. 
However,  if  the  school  is  in  a  rural  district, 
there  will  be  plenty  of  hunters'  stories 


afloat,  from  which  may  be  elicited  facts 
concerning  the  cunning  and  cleverness  of 
the  red  fox.  In  such  places  there  is  also 
the  opportunity  in  winter  to  study  fox 
tracks  upon  the  snow.  The  lesson  may  well 
be  given  when  there  are  fox  tracks  for 
observation.  The  close  relationship  be- 
tween foxes  and  dogs  should  be  empha- 
sized. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i .  Describe  the  fox's 
track.  How  does  it  differ  from  the  track 
of  a  small  dog? 

2.  Where  does  the  fox  make  its  home? 
Describe  the  den.  Describe  the  den  in 
which  the  young  foxes  live. 

3.  Describe  the  red  fox,  its  color  and 
form,  as  completely  as  you  can.  What  is 
the  expression  of  its  face?  What  is  there 
peculiar  about  its  tail?  What  is  the  use 
of  this  great  bushy  tail  in  the  winter? 

4.  What  is  the  food  of  the  fox?  How 
does  it  get  its  food?  Is  it  a  day  or  a  night 
hunter?  How  does  the  fox  benefit  the 
farmer?  How  does  it  injure  him?  How 
does  the  fox  carry  home  its  heavy  game, 
such  as  a  goose  or  a  hen? 

5.  Have  you  ever  heard  the  fox  bark? 
Did  it  sound  like  the  bark  of  a  dog?  How 
does  the  fox  express  anger?  Pleasure? 

6.  When  chased  by  dogs,  in  what  di- 
rection does  the  fox  run?  Describe  all  of 
the  tricks  which  you  know  by  which  the 
fox  throws  the  dog  off  the  scent. 

7.  When  are  the  young  foxes  born? 
How  many  in  a  litter?  What  color  are 
they?  How  do  they  play  with  each  other? 
How  do  they  learn  to  hunt? 


U.  S.  Bureau  of  Biol.  Survey 

Silver  fox 


ANIMALS 


National  Sportsman 

English  setter.  This  is  the  famous  Brownie's  Spot,  field  trial  winner  and  bench  show 

champion 


DOGS 


Not  only  today  but  in  ancient  days,  be- 
fore the  dawn  of  history,  the  dog  was  the 
companion  of  man.  Whether  the  wild 
species  from  whence  he  sprang  was  wolf 
or  jackal  or  some  other  similar  animal,  we 
do  not  know,  but  we  do  know  that  many 
types  of  dogs  have  been  tamed  independ- 
ently by  savages,  in  the  region  where  their 
untamed  relatives  run  wild.  As  the  whelps 
of  wolves,  jackals,  and  foxes  are  all  easily 
tamed,  and  are  most  interesting  little  crea- 
tures, we  can  understand  how  they  be- 
came companions  to  the  children  of  the 
savage  and  barbarous  peoples  who  hunted 
them. 

In  the  earliest  records  of  cave  dwellers, 
in  the  picture  writing  of  the  ancient  Egyp- 
tians and  of  other  ancient  peoples,  we  find 
record  of  the  presence  and  value  of  the 
dog.  But  man,  in  historical  times,  has  been 
able  to  evolve  breeds  that  vary  more  in 
form  than  do  the  wild  species  of  the  pres- 
ent. There  are  200  distinct  breeds  of  dogs 


known  today,  and  many  of  these  have 
been  bred  for  special  purposes.  The  pale- 
ontologists, moreover,  assure  us  that  there 
has  been  a  decided  advance  in  the  size 
and  quality  of  the  dog's  brain  since  the 
days  of  his  savagery;  thus,  he  has  been 
the  companion  of  man's  civilization  also. 
It  is  not,  therefore,  to  be  wondered  at  that 
the  dog  is  now  the  most  companionable, 
and  has  the  most  human  qualities  and 
intelligence  of  all  our  domesticated 
animals. 

Dogs  run  down  their  prey;  it  is  a  neces- 
sity, therefore,  that  they  be  equipped  with 
legs  that  are  long,  strong,  and  muscular. 
The  cat,  which  jumps  for  her  prey,  has 
much  more  delicate  legs  but  has  powerful 
hips  to  enable  her  to  leap.  The  dog's  feet 
are  much  more  heavily  padded  than  those 
of  the  cat,  because  in  running  he  must 
not  stop  to  save  his  feet.  Hounds  often 
return  from  a  chase  with  bleeding  feet, 
despite  the  heavy  pads,  but  the  wounds 


MAMMALS 


are  usually  cuts  between  the  toes.  The 
claws  are  heavy  and  are  not  retractile;  thus, 
they  afford  a  protection  to  the  feet  when 
running,  and  they  are  also  used  for  dig- 
ging out  game  which  burrows  into  the 
ground.  They  are  not  used  for  grasping 
prey  like  those  of  the  cat  and  are  used 
only  incidentally  in  fighting,  while  the 
cat's  claws  are  the  most  important  weap- 
ons in  her  armory.  It  is  an  interesting  fact 
that  Newfoundland  dogs,  which  are  such 


U.  S.  Dept.  Agriculture 

Boston  terrier.  This  small  popular  breed  is 
one  of  the  few  to  originate  in  America.  It  is 
very  companionable  and  highly  intelligent 

famous  swimmers,  have  their  toes  some- 
what webbed. 

The  dog's  body  is  long,  lean,  and  very 
muscular,  a  fat  dog  being  usually  pam- 
pered and  old.  The  coat  is  of  hair  and  is 
not  of  fine  fur  like  that  of  the  cat.  It  is 
of  interest  to  note  that  the  Newfoundland 
dog  has  an  inner  coat  of  fine  hair  com- 
parable to  that  of  the  mink  or  muskrat. 
When  a  dog  is  running,  his  body  is  ex- 
tended to  its  fullest  length;  in  fact,  it 
seems  to  "  lie  flat/7  the  outstretched  legs 
heightening  the  effect  of  extreme  muscu- 
lar effort  of  forward  movement.  A  dog 
is  master  of  several  gaits;  he  can  run,  walk, 
trot,  bound,  and  crawl. 

The  iris  of  the  dog's  eye  is  usually  of 


U.  S.  Dept.  Agriculture 

Beagle.  These  hounds  hunt  individually,  in 
pairs,  or  in  packs;  they  are  used  chiefly  for 
hunting  rabbits 

a  beautiful  brown,  although  this  varies 
with  breeds;  in  puppies,  the  iris  is  usually 
blue.  The  pupil  is  round  like  our  own;  and 
although  dogs  probably  cannot  see  as  well 
in  the  dark  as  the  cat,  they  see  well  at 
night  and  in  daylight  they  have  keen  sight. 
The  nose  is  so  much  more  efficient  than 
the  eyes,  that  it  is  on  the  sense  of  smell 
the  dog  depends  for  following  his  prey 
and  for  recognizing  friend  and  foe.  The 
damp,  soft  skin  that  covers  the  nose  has 
in  its  dampness  the  conditions  for  carry- 
ing the  scent  to  the  wide  nostrils;  these 
are  situated  at  the  most  forward  part  of 
the  face,  and  thus  may  be  lifted  in  any 


U.  S.  Dept.  Agriculture 


Greyhound.  This  swiftest  of  all  large  dogs 
hunts  by  sight 


ANIMALS 


St.  Bernard.  These  dogs  stand  about  thirty 
inches  high  and  have  an  average  weight  of 
175  pounds 

direction  to  receive  the  marvelous  impres- 
sions, so  completely  beyond  our  compre- 
hension. Think  of  being  able  to  scent  the 
track  of  a  fox  made  several  hours  previ- 
ously, and  not  only  to  scent  it,  but  to  fol- 
low it  by  scent  for  many  miles  without 
ever  having  a  glimpse  of  the  fleeing  foe!  In 
fact,  while  running,  the  dog's  attention 
seems  to  be  focused  entirely  upon  the 
sense  of  smell,  for  I  have  seen  hounds  pass 
within  a  few  rods  to  the  windward  of  the 
fox  they  were  chasing,  without  observing 
him  at  all.  Furthermore,  according  to 
E.  H.  Baynes,  the  dog's  sense  of  smell  is 
keen  enough  to  distinguish  the  scent  of 
the  particular  creature  he  is  hunting  from 
that  of  all  others,  and  to  distinguish  the 
scent  of  several  animals  from  that  of  only 
one.  He  knows  the  difference  between 
foot  scent  and  body  scent,  and  he  can 
immediately  tell  the  scent  of  a  wounded 
animal  from  that  of  a  dead  one.  He  can 
tell,  moreover,  the  direction  in  which 
foot  scent  leads,  and  some  dogs,  at  least, 
can  follow  a  particular  trail  no  matter 
how  many  other  scents  have  been  super- 
imposed upon  it.  It  has  been  said  that 
the  sense  of  smell  in  dogs,  and  especially 
in  hounds,  is  so  acute  that  the  amount  of 
odor  required  to  stimulate  the  nose  is  too 
slight  to  be  expressed.  When  the  nose  of 
a  dog  becomes  dry  it  is  a  sign  of  illness. 

A  light  fall  of  damp  snow  gives  the  dog 
the  best  conditions  for  following  a  track 


by  scent.  A  hound,  when  on  the  trail, 
will  run  until  exhausted.  There  are  many 
authentic  observations  which  show  that 
hounds  have  followed  a  fox  for  twenty- 
four  hours  without  food,  and  probably 
with  little  rest. 

Because  the  dog's  sense  of  smell  is  so 
important  to  him,  he  should  never  be 
punished  by  being  struck  over  the  nose. 
Nor  should  he  be  struck  at  all  about  the 
head  and  ears,  lest  his  hearing  be  dam- 
aged. A  dog  is  so  sensitive  to  inflections 
and  tones  of  voice  that  a  severe  word  is 
usually  punishment  enough;  if  it  seems 
necessary  to  strike  him,  he  should  be 
struck  only  on  the  foreshoulders  and 
sides.  A  folded  newspaper  is  good  for  the 
purpose. 

The  dog's  weapons  for  battle,  like  those 
of  the  wolf,  are  his  tushes;  with  these 
he  holds  and  tears  his  prey;  with  them  he 
seizes  the  woodchuck  or  other  small  ani- 
mal through  the  back  and  shakes  its  life 
out.  In  fighting  a  larger  animal,  the  dog 
leaps  against  it  and  often  incidentally 
tears  its  flesh  with  his  strong  claws;  but 
he  does  not  strike  a  blow  with  his  foot 
like  the  cat,  nor  can  he  hold  his  quarry 
with  it. 

Dogs'  teeth  are  especially  fitted  for  their 
work.  The  incisors  are  small  and  sharp;  the 


H.  M.  Isenhower 


Pointer.  These  dogs  are  called  pointers  be- 
cause of  their  habit  of  pointing  at  the  con- 
cealed game  birds  they  have  scented.  This  is 
Isenhower's  Flaro,  a  champion 


MAMMALS 


canine  teeth  or  tushes  are  very  long,  but 
there  are  bare  spaces  on  the  jaws  so  that 
they  are  able  to  cross  past  each  other;  the 
molar  teeth  are  not  adapted  for  grinding., 
like  the  teeth  of  a  cow,  but  are  especially 
fitted  for  cutting,  as  may  be  noted  if  we 
watch  the  way  a  dog  gnaws  bones,  gnaw- 
ing with  the  back  teeth  first  on  one  side 
and  then  on  the  other.  In  fact,  a  dog  does 
not  seem  to  need  to  chew  anything,  but 
simply  needs  to  cut  his  meat  in  small 
enough  pieces  so  that  he  can  gulp  them 
down  without  chewing.  His  powers  of  di- 
gesting unchewed  food  are  something  that 
the  hustling  American  may  well  envy. 


Mr.  and  Mrs.  J.  W.  Page 

Beagle  pups.  Beagles  are  small  models  of 
foxhounds;  they  are  not  so  swift  as  foxhounds, 
but  seem  to  have  a  keener  sense  of  smell 

Of  all  domestic  animals,  the  dog  is  most 
humanly  understandable  in  expressing 
emotions.  If  delighted,  he  leaps  about  giv- 
ing ecstatic  little  barks  and  squeals,  his 
tail  in  the  air  and  his  eyes  full  of  happy 
anticipation.  If  he  wishes  to  be  friendly, 
he  looks  at  us  interestedly,  comes  over  to 
smell  of  us  in  order  to  assure  himself 
whether  he  has  ever  met  us  before,  and 
then  wags  his  tail  as  a  sign  of  good  faith. 
If  he  wishes  to  show  affection,  he  leaps 
upon  us  and  licks  our  face  or  hands  with 
his  soft,  deft  tongue  and  follows  us  jeal- 
ously. When  he  stands  at  attention  he 
holds  his  tail  stiff  in  the  air,  and  looks 
up  with  one  ear  lifted  as  if  to  say,  "  Well, 
what's  doing?  "  When  angry,  he  growls 
and  shows  his  teeth  and  the  tail  is  held 
rigidly  out  behind,  as  if  to  convince  us 


Helen  F.  Hill 


English  springer  spaniel.  No  other  family 
of  dogs  contains  so  many  recognized  breeds 
as  the  spaniel  family  —  seven  hunting  and 
two^  toy  breeds.  Formerly  these  dogs  were 
trained  to  flush  or  "  spring  "  the  game  so  that 
swifter  dogs  or  falcons  could  catch  it;  today 
they  are  popular  as  all-purpose  dogs 


The  Seeing  Eye,  Inc. 

A  Seeing^  Eye  dog.  The  training  of  dogs  to 
lead  the  blind  began  in  the  United  States;  the 
same  methods  have  now  become  popular  in 
Europe.  The  Seeing  Eye  has  headquarters  in 
New  York  City 


ANIMALS 


that  it  is  really  a  continuation  of  his  back-      Baynes;  The  Story  of  Scotch,  by  Enos  A. 
bone.  When  afraid,  he  whines  and  lies  flat      Mills;  Stickeen;  the  Story  of  a  Dog,  by 

1 1 ,-»  f^  —»     T->  .*  ^    T-*  ^-vl  1  _  .        *  £.1 !_„!_' _    1 _  1      *  1  T       1  ~\    IT         •  TTrr-TTA  •  1          TTTT  T  s- 


upon  his  belly,  often  looking  beseechingly 
up  toward  his  master  as  if  begging  not  to 


H.  M.  Isenhower 

English  pointer  pups 

be  punished;  or  he  crawls  away  out  of 
sight.  When  ashamed,  he  drops  his  tail 
between  his  legs  and  with  drooping  head 
and  sidewise  glance  slinks  away.  When  ex- 
cited, he  barks  and  every  bark  expresses 
high  nervous  tension. 

Almost  all  dogs  that  chase  their  prey 
bark  when  so  doing.  This  action  would  at 
first  sight  seem  foolish,  in  that  it  reveals 
their  whereabouts  to  their  victims  and 
also  adds  an  incentive  to  flight.  These 
dogs  have  been  trained  through  many 
generations  and  have  been  selected  be- 
cause of  various  peculiarities;  a  good  fox 
hound,  coon  hound,  or  rabbit  hound 
barks  in  order  to  tell  the  hunter,  not  only 
where  it  is  but  what  it  is  doing.  A  certain 
kind  of  bark  may  indicate  to  the  hunter 
that  the  game  is  "  treed  "  or  chased  into 
a  hole. 

Most  breeds  of  clogs  have  an  acute 
sense  of  hearing.  When  a  dog  bays  at  the 
moon  or  howls  when  he  hears  music,  it 
is  simply  a  reversion  to  the  wild  habit  of 
howling  to  call  together  the  pack  or  in 
answer  "  to  the  music  of  the  pack/7  It  is 
interesting  that  our  music,  which  is  the 
flower  of  our  civilization,  should  awaken 
the  sleeping  ancestral  traits  in  the  canine 
breast.  But  perhaps  that,  too,  is  why  we 
respond  to  music,  because  it  awakens  in 
us  the  strong,  primitive  emotions,  and  for 
the  time  enables  us  to  free  ourselves  from 
all  conventional  shackles  and  trammels. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  The  Book  of 
Dogs,  by  James  G.  Lawson;  Call  of  the 
Wild,  by  Jack  London;  Mother  Nature 
Series,  by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor 
Troxell,  Book  i,  Baby  Animals;  The  Pet 
Boole,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  Polaris,  the 
Story  of  an  Eskimo  Dog,  by  Ernest  H. 


John  Muir;  Wild  Animals  I  Have  Known, 
Animal  Heroes,  and  Lives  of  the  Hunted^ 
all  by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton;  A  Friend 
in  the  Dark,  by  Ruth  A.  Knight;  also, 
readings  on  page  214. 

LESSON  63 
DOGS 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  dog  is  a  do- 
mesticated descendant  of  wolflike  ani- 
mals and  has  retained  certain  of  the  habits 
and  characteristics  of  his  ancestors. 

METHOD  —  For  the  observation  lesson 
it  would  be  well  to  have  at  hand  a  well- 
disposed  dog  which  would  not  object  to 
being  handled;  a  collie  or  a  hound  would 
be  preferable.  Many  of  the  questions 
should  be  given  to  the  pupils  to  answer 
from  observations  at  home,  and  the  lesson 
should  be  built  upon  the  experience  of 
the  pupils  with  dogs. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  Why  are  the  legs 
of  the  dog  compared  with  those  of  the 
cat  long  and  strong  in  proportion  to  the 
body? 

2,  Compare  the  feet  of  the  cat  with 
those  of  the  dog  and  note  which  has  the 
heavier  pads.  Why  is  this  of  use  to  each? 

3.  Which  has  the  stronger  and  heavier 


Leonard  K.  Beyer 

Collie.  This  breed  of  dogs  shows  great  in- 
telligence in  the  herding  of  various  kinds  of 
domestic  animals;  it  has  long  been  used  in 
Scotland,  but  its  popularity  has  spread  to 
many  other  countries.  The  one  pictured  here 
is  not  today  the  show  type 


MAMMALS 


claws,  the  dog  or  the  cat?  Can  the  dog 
retract  his  claws  so  that  they  are  not  visi- 
ble, as  does  the  cat?  Of  what  use  is  this 
arrangement  to  the  dog?  Are  the  front 
feet  just  like  the  hind  feet?  How  many 
toe  impressions  show  in  the  track  of  the 
dog? 

4.  What  is  the  general  characteristic  of 
the  body  of  the  dog?  Is  it  soft  like  that 
of  the  cat,  or  lean  and  muscular?  What 
is  the  difference  between  the  hair  cover- 
ing of  the  dog  and  the  cat?  What  is  the 


Klondike  Jack.  The  dog  that  pulled  four 
hundred  fifty  pounds  five  hundred  miles 
through  the  White  Horse  Pass  in  the  winter 
of  the  first  gold  excitement  in  Alaska 

attitude  of  the  dog  when  running  fast? 
How  many  kinds  of  gaits  has  he? 

5.  In  general,  how  do  the  eyes  of  the 
dog  differ  from  those  of  the  cat?  Does  he 
rely  as  much  upon  his  eyes  for  finding  his 
prey  as  does  the  cat?  Can  a  dog  see  in 
the  dark?  What  is  the  color  of  the  dog's 
eyes? 

6.  Study  the  ear  of  the  dog;  is  it  cov- 
ered? Is  this  outer  ear  movable,  is  it  a  flap, 
or  is  it  cornucopia-shaped?  How  is  this  flap 
used  when  the  dog  is  listening?  Roll  a 
sheet  of  paper  into  a  flaring  tube  and  place 
the  small  end  upon  your  own  ear,  and 
note  if  it  helps  you  to  hear  better  the 
sounds  in  the  direction  toward  which  the 
tube  opens.  Note  how  the  hound  lifts  his 
long  earlaps,  so  as  to  make  a  tube  for  con- 
veying sounds  to  his  inner  ear.  Do  you 
think  that  dogs  can  hear  well? 

7.  What  is  the  position  of  the  nose  in 
the  dog's  face?  Of  what  use  is  this?  De- 


Mr,  and  Airs.  J.  W.  Page 

English  setter.  This  breed  originated  in 
England  from  a  cross  between  a  field  spaniel 
and  a  pointer 

scribe  the  nostrils;  are  they  placed  on  the 
foremost  point  of  the  face?  What  is  the 
condition  of  the  skin  that  surrounds  them? 
How  does  this  condition  of  the  nose  aid 
the  dog?  What  other  animals  have  it? 
Does  the  dog  recognize  his  friends  or  be- 
come acquainted  with  strangers  by  means 
of  his  sight  or  of  his  powers  of  smelling? 
8.  How  long  after  a  fox  or  rabbit  has 
passed  can  a  hound  follow  the  track?  Does 


St.  Bernard,  This  breed  of  huge  dogs  was 
developed  by  monks  in  the  Swiss  Alps  to  aid 
in  the  rescue  of  people  lost  in  the  mountains 


260 


ANIMALS 


he  follow  it  by  sight  or  by  smell?  What  are 
the  conditions  most  favorable  for  retain- 
ing the  scent?  The  most  unfavorable? 
How  long  will  a  hound  follow  a  fox  trail 
without  stopping  for  rest  or  food?  Do  you 
think  the  dog  is  your  superior  in  ability 
to  smell? 

9.  How  does  a  dog  seize  and  kill  his 
prey?  How  does  he  use  his  feet  and  claws 
when  fighting?  What  are  his  especially 
strong  weapons?  Describe  a  dog's  teeth 
and  explain  the  reason  for  the  bare  spaces 
on  the  jaw  next  to  the  tushes.  Does  the 
dog  use  his  tushes  when  chewing?  What 
teeth  does  he  use  when  gnawing  a  bone? 
Make  a  diagram  of  the  arrangement  of 
the  dog's  teeth. 

10.  How  by  action,  voice,  and  especially 
by  the  movement  of  the  tail  does  the  dog 
express  the  following  emotions:  delight, 
friendliness,   affection,   attention,   anger, 
fear,  shame,  excitement?  How  does  he  act 
when  chasing  his  prey?  Why  do  wolves 


and  dogs  bark  when  following  the  trail? 
Do  you  think  of  a  reason  why  dogs  often 
howl  at  night  or  when  listening  to  music? 
What  should  we  feed  to  our  pet  dogs? 
What  should  we  do  to  make  them  com- 
fortable in  other  ways? 

11.  Tell  or  write  a  story  of  some  dog 
of  which  you  know  by  experience  or  hear- 
say. Of  what  use  was  the  dog  to  the  pio- 
neer? How  are  dogs  used  in  the  Arctic 
regions?  In  Holland? 

12.  How  many  breeds  of  dogs  do  you 
know?  Describe  these  breeds  as  follows: 
The  length  of  the  legs  as  compared  with 
the  body;  the  general  shape  of  the  body, 
head,  ears,  nose;  color  and  character  of 
hair  on  head,  body,  and  tail. 

13.  Find  if  you  can  the  reasons  which 
have  led  to  the  developing  of  the  fol- 
lowing breeds:  Newfoundland,  St.  Ber- 
nard, mastiffs,  hounds,  collies,  spaniels, 
setters,  pointers,  bulldogs,  terriers,   and 
pugs. 


A  cat  family 


Verne  Morton 


THE  CAT 


Of  all  people,  the  writer  should  regard 
the  cat  sympathetically,  for  when  she  was 
a  baby  of  five  months  she  was  adopted  by 
a  cat.  My  self-elected  foster-mother  was 


Jenny,  a  handsome  black  and  white  cat, 
which  at  that  time  lost  her  first  litter  of 
kittens,  through  the  attack  of  a  savage 
cat  from  the  woods.  She  was  as  Rachel 


MAMMALS 


261 


crying  for  her  children,  when  she  seemed 
suddenly  to  comprehend  that  I,  although 
larger  than  she,  was  an  infant.  She  haunted 
my  cradle,  trying  to  give  me  milk  from  her 
own  breasts;  and  later  she  brought  half- 
killed  mice  and  placed  them  enticingly  in 
my  cradle,  coaxing  me  to  play  with  them, 
a  performance  which  pleased  me  much 
more  than  it  did  my  real  mother.  Jenny 
always  came  to  comfort  me  when  I  cried, 
rubbing  against  me,  purring  loudly,  and 
licking  me  with  her  tongue  in  a  way  to 
drive  mad  the  modern  mother,  wise  as  to 
the  sources  of  children's  internal  parasites. 
This  maternal  attitude  toward  me  lasted 
as  long  as  Jenny  lived,  which  was  until  I 
was  nine  years  old.  Never  during  those 
years  did  I  lift  my  voice  in  wailing,  that  she 
did  not  come  to  comfort  me;  and  even  to- 
day I  can  remember  how  great  that  com- 
fort was,  especially  when  my  naughtiness 
was  the  cause  of  my  weeping,  and  when, 
therefore,  I  felt  that  the  whole  world,  ex- 
cept Jenny,  was  against  me. 

Jenny  was  a  cat  of  remarkable  intelli- 
gence and  was  very  obedient  and  useful. 
Coming  down  the  kitchen  stairs  one  day, 
she  played  with  the  latch,  and  someone 
who  heard  her  opened  the  door.  She  did 
this  several  times,  when  one  day  she 
chanced  to  push  down  the  latch,  and  thus 


Folks  are  so  tiresome! " 


Kittens 

opened  the  door  herself.  After  that,  she 
always  opened  it  herself.  A  little  later, 
she  tried  the  trick  on  other  doors,  and 
soon  succeeded  in  opening  all  the  latched 
doors  in  the  house,  by  thrusting  one  front 
leg  through  the  handle,  and  thus  support- 
ing her  weight  and  pressing  down  with 
the  foot  of  the  other  on  the  thumb-piece 
of  the  latch.  I  remember  that  guests  were 
greatly  astonished  to  see  her  coming  thus 
swinging  into  the  sitting  room.  Later  she 
tried  the  latches  from  the  other  side,  jump- 
ing up  and  trying  to  lift  the  hook;  but 
now,  her  weight  was  thrown  against  the 
wrong  side  of  the  door  for  opening,  and 
she  soon  ceased  this  futile  waste  of  energy; 
but  for  several  years,  she  let  herself  into 
all  the  rooms  in  this  clever  manner,  and 
taught  a  few  of  her  bright  kittens  to  do 
the  same. 

A  pet  cat  enjoys  long  conversations  with 
favored  members  of  the  household.  She 
will  sit  in  front  of  her  mistress  and  mew, 
with  every  appearance  of  answering  the 
questions  addressed  her;  and  since  the  cat 
and  the  mistress  each  knows  her  own  part 
of  the  conversation,  it  is  perhaps  more 
typical  of  society  chatter  than  we  might 
like  to  confess.  Of  our  language,  the  cat 
learns  to  understand  the  call  to  food,  its 
own  name,  "  Scat/7  and  "  No,  No,"  prob- 
ably inferring  the  meaning  of  the  latter 
from  the  tone  of  voice.  On  the  other  hand, 
we  understand  when  it  asks  to  go  out,  and 
its  polite  recognition  to  the  one  who  opens 
the  door.  I  knew  one  cat  which  invariably 
thanked  us  when  we  let  him  in  as  well  as 
out.  When  the  cat  is  hungry,  it  mews 
pleadingly;  when  happy  in  front  of  the 


262 


ANIMALS 


Marion  E.  Wesp 


On  the  doorstep 

fire,  it  looks  at  us  sleepily  out  of  half-closed 
eyes  and  gives  a  short  mew  expressive  of 
affection  and  content;  or  it  purrs,  a  noise 
which  we  do  not  know  how  to  imitate 
and  which  expresses  perfectly  the  happi- 
ness of  intimate  companionship.  When 
frightened  the  cat  yowls,  and  when  hurt 
it  squalls  shrilly;  when  fighting,  it  is  like 
a  savage  warrior  in  that  it  howls  a  war- 
song  in  blood-curdling  strains,  punctuated 
with  a  spitting  expressive  of  fear  and  con- 
tempt; and  unfortunately,  its  love  song  is 
scarcely  less  agonizing  to  the  listener.  The 
cat's  whole  body  enters  into  the  expres- 
sion of  its  emotions.  When  feeling  affec- 
tionate toward  its  mistress,  it  rubs  against 
her  gown,  with  tail  erect,  and  vibrating 
with  a  purr  which  seems  fundamental. 
When  angry,  it  lays  its  ears  back  and 
lashes  its  tail  back  and  forth,  the  latter 
being  a  sign  of  excitement;  when  fright- 
ened, its  hair  stands  on  end,  especially 
the  hair  of  the  tail,  making  that  expressive 
appendage  twice  its  natural  size;  when 
caught  in  disobedience,  the  cat  lets  its 
tail  droop,  and  when  running  lifts  it  in  a 
curve. 

While  we  feed  cats  milk  and  scraps 
from  our  own  table,  they  have  never  be- 
come entirely  civilized  in  their  tastes. 
They  always  catch  mice  and  other  small 
animals  and  prove  pestiferous  in  destroy- 
ing birds.  Jenny  was  wont  to  bring  her 
quarry,  as  an  offering,  to  the  front  steps 
of  our  home  every  night;  one  morning 
we  found  seven  mice,  a  cotton-tail  rabbit 


and  two  snakes,  which  represented  her 
night's  catch.  The  cat  never  chases  its 
prey  like  the  dog.  It  discovers  the  haunts 
of  its  victims  and  then  lies  in  ambush, 
flattened  out  as  still  as  a  statue  and  all  its 
feet  beneath  it,  ready  to  make  the  spring. 
The  weight  of  the  body  is  a  factor  which 
enters  into  the  blow  with  which  the  cat 
strikes  down  and  stuns  its  victim,  which 
it  later  kills  by  gripping  the  throat  with 
the  strong  tushes.  It  carries  its  victims  as 
it  does  its  kittens,  by  the  back. 

The  cat's  legs  are  not  long  compared 
with  the  body,  and  it  runs  with  a  leaping 
gallop;  the  upper  legs  are  armed  with  pow- 
erful muscles.  It  walks  on  the  padded  toes, 
five  on  the  front  feet  and  four  on  the  hind 
feet.  The  cat  needs  its  claws  to  be  sharp 
and  hooked,  in  order  to  seize  and  hold  its 
prey,  so  they  are  kept  safely  sheathed 
when  not  thus  used.  If  the  claws  struck 
the  earth  during  walking,  as  do  the  dog's, 
they  would  soon  become  dulled.  When 
sharpening  its  claws  it  reaches  high  up 
against  a  tree  or  post,  and  strikes  them  into 
the  wood  with  a  downward  scratch;  this 
act  is  probably  more  for  exercising  the 
muscles  which  control  the  claws  than  for 
sharpening  them. 


John  W.  Decker 


Anticipation 


MAMMALS 


263 


The  cat's  track  is  in  a  single  line  as  if 
it  had  only  two  feet,  one  set  directly  ahead 
of  the  other.  It  accomplishes  this  by  set- 
ting its  hind  feet  exactly  in  the  tracks 
made  by  the  front  feet.  The  cat  can  easily 
leap  upward,  landing  on  a  window-sill  five 
feet  from  the  ground.  The  jump  is  made 
with  the  hind  legs  and  the  alighting  is 
done  silently  on  the  front  feet. 

Cats7  eyes  are  adapted  better  than  ours 
for  seeing  in  the  dim  light;  in  the  daytime 
the  pupil  is  simply  a  narrow,  up  and  down 
slit;  under  excitement,  and  at  night,  the 
pupil  covers  almost  the  entire  eye.  At  the 
back  of  the  eye  is  a  reflecting  surface, 
which  catches  such  light  as  there  is,  and 
by  reflecting  it  enables  the  cat  to  use  it 
twice.  It  is  this  reflected  light  which  gives 
the  peculiar  green  glare  to  the  eyes  of  all 
the  cats  when  seen  in  the  dark.  Some 
night-flying  moths  have  a  like  arrange- 
ment for  utilizing  the  light,  and  their  eyes 
glow  like  living  coals.  Of  course,  since  the 
cat  is  a  night  hunter,  this  power  of  multi- 
plying the  rays  of  light  is  of  great  use. 
The  iris  of  the  eye  is  usually  yellow,  but  in 
kittens  it  may  be  blue  or  green. 

The  cat's  teeth  are  peculiarly  fitted  for 
its  needs.  The  six  doll-like  incisors  of  the 
upper  and  lower  jaw  are  merely  for  scrap- 
ing meat  from  bones.  The  two  great 
tushes,  or  canines,  on  each  jaw,  with  a 
bare  place  behind  so  that  they  pass  each 
other  freely,  are  sharp,  and  are  for  seizing 
and  carrying  prey.  The  cat  is  able  to  open 
its  mouth  as  wide  as  a  right  angle,  in  order 


Marion  E.  Wesp 


An  aristocrat 


Amicable  advances 


better  to  hold  and  carry  prey.  The  back 
teeth,  or  molars,  are  four  on  each  side 
in  the  upper  jaw  and  three  below.  They 
are  sharp-edged  wedges  made  for  cutting 
meat  fine  enough  so  that  it  may  be 
swallowed. 

The  tongue  is  covered  with  sharp  pa- 
pillae directed  backwards,  also  used  for 
rasping  juices  from  meat.  The  cat's  nose 
is  moist,  and  her  sense  of  smell  very  keen, 
as  is  also  her  sense  of  hearing.  The  ears 
rise  like  two  hollow  half-cones  on  either 
side  of  the  head  and  are  filled  with  sensi- 
tive hairs;  they  ordinarily  open  forward,, 
but  are  capable  of  movement.  The  cat's 
whiskers  consist  of  from  twenty-five  to 
thirty  long  hairs  set  in  four  lines,  above 
and  at  the  sides  of  the  mouth;  they  are 
connected  with  sensitive  nerves  and  are 
therefore  true  feelers.  The  cat's  fur  is  very 
fine  and  thick,  and  is  also  sensitive,  as  can 
readily  be  proved,  by  trying  to  stroke  it 
the  wrong  way.  While  the  wild  cats  have 
gray  or  tawny  fur,  variously  mottled  or 
shaded,  the  more  striking  colors  we  see 
in  the  domestic  cats  are  the  result  of  man's 
breeding. 

Cats  are  very  cleanly  in  their  habits. 
Puss  always  washes  her  face  directly  after 
eating,  using  one  paw  for  a  washcloth  and 
licking  it  clean  after  she  rubs  her  face. 


264  ANIMALS 

She  cleans  her  fur  with  her  rough  tongue 
and  also  by  biting;  and  she  promptly  buries 
objectionable  matter.  The  mother  cat  is 
very  attentive  to  the  cleanliness  of  her 
kittens,  licking  them  clean  from  nose  tip 
to  tail  tip.  The  ways  of  the  mother  cat 
with  her  kittens  do  much  to  sustain  the 
assertions  of  Mr.  Seton  and  Mr.  Long  that 
young  animals  are  trained  and  educated 
by  their  parents.  The  cat  brings  half-dazed 
mice  to  her  kittens,  that  they  may  learn 
to  follow  and  catch  them  with  their  own 


This  cat  has  been  trained  to  be  friendly  with 
birds 


little  claws.  When  she  punishes  them,  she 
cuffs  the  ears  by  holding  one  side  of  the 
kitten's  head  firm  with  the  claws  of  one 
foot,  while  she  lays  on  the  blows  with  the 
other.  She  carries  her  kittens  by  the  nape 
of  the  neck,  never  hurting  them.  She  takes 
them  into  the  field  when  they  are  old 
enough,  and  shows  them  the  haunts  of 
mice,  and  does  many  things  for  their  edu- 
cation and  welfare.  The  kittens  meantime 
train  themselves  to  agility  and  dexterity, 
by  playing  rough  and  tumble  with  each 
other,  and  by  chasing  every  small  moving 
object,  even  to  their  own  tails. 

The  cat  loves  warmth  and  finds  her 
place  beneath  the  stove  or  at  the  hearth- 
side.  She  likes  some  people,  and  dislikes 
others,  for  no  reason  we  can  detect.  She 
can  be  educated  to  be  friendly  with  dogs 
and  with  birds.  In  feeding  her,  we  should 
give  her  plenty  of  sweet  milk,  some  cooked 
meat,  and  fish,  of  which  she  is  very  fond; 
and  we  should  keep  a  bundle  of  catnip  to 
make  her  happy,  for  even  the  larger  cats 


of  the  wilderness  seem  to  have  a  passion- 
ate liking  for  this  herb.  The  cat  laps  milk 
with  her  rough  tongue,  and  when  eating 
meat,  she  turns  the  head  this  way  and 
that,  to  cut  the  tough  muscle  with  her 
back  teeth. 


CATS  SHOULD  BE  TRAINED  TO 
LEAVE  BIRDS  ALONE 

Every  owner  of  a  cat  owes  it  to  the 
world  to  train  Puss  to  leave  birds  alone. 
If  this  training  is  begun  during  kitten- 
hood,  by  switching  the  culprit  every  time 
it  even  looks  at  a  bird,  it  will  soon  learn 
to  leave  them  severely  alone.  I  have  tried 
this  many  times,  and  I  know  it  is  effica- 
cious, if  the  cat  is  intelligent.  We  have 
never  had  a  cat  whose  early  training  we 
controlled,  that  could  ever  be  induced 
even  to  watch  birds.  If  a  cat  is  not  thus 
trained  as  a  kitten,  it  is  likely  to  be  always 
treacherous  in  this  respect.  But  in  case  any 
one  has  a  valuable  cat  which  is  given  to 
catching  birds,  I  strongly  advise  the  fol- 
lowing treatment  which  has  been  proved 
practicable  by  a  friend  of  mine.  When  a 
cat  has  made  the  catch,  take  the  bird 
away  and  sprinkle  it  with  red  pepper,  and 
then  give  it  back.  One  such  treatment  as 
this  resulted  in  making  one  cat,  which 
was  an  inveterate  bird  hunter,  run  and 
hide  every  time  he  saw  a  bird  thereafter. 
Any  persons  taking  cats  with  them  to  their 
summer  homes,  and  abandoning  them 
there  to  prey  upon  the  birds  of  the  vicinity, 
and  to  become  poor,  half-starved,  wild 
creatures,  ought  to  be  arrested  and  fined. 
It  is  not  only  cruelty  to  the  cats,  but  it 
is  positive  injury  and  damage  to  the  com- 
munity, because  of  the  slaughter  of  many 
beneficial  and  beautiful  birds  which  it  en- 
tails. 

SUGGESTED  READING  —  Animal  Heroes, 
by  Ernest  Thompson  Seton;  Baby  Ani- 
mals on  the  Farm,  by  Kate  E.  Agnew  and 
Margaret  Coble;  The  Blot:  Little  City 
Cat,  by  Phyllis  Crawford;  Mother  Nature 
Series,  by  Fannie  W.  Dunn  and  Eleanor 
Troxell,  Book  i,  Baby  Animals;  The  Pet 
Book,  by  Anna  B.  Comstock;  also,  read- 
ings on  page  214. 


LESSON  64 
THE  CAT 

LEADING  THOUGHT  —  The  cat  was  made 
a  domestic  animal  before  man  wrote  his- 
tories. It  gets  prey  by  springing  from  am- 
bush and  is  fitted  by  form  of  body  and 
teeth  to  do  this.  It  naturally  hunts  at  night 
and  has  eyes  fitted  to  see  in  the  dark. 

METHOD  —  This  lesson  may  be  used  in 
primary  grades  by  asking  a  few  questions 
at  a  time  and  allowing  the  children  to 
make  their  observations  on  their  own  kit- 
tens at  home,  or  a  kitten  may  be  brought 
to  school  for  this  purpose.  The  upper  grade 
work  consists  of  reading  and  retelling  or 
writing  exciting  stories  of  the  great,  wild, 
savage  cats,  like  the  tiger,  lion,  leopard, 
lynx,  and  panther. 

OBSERVATIONS  —  i.  How  much  of  Pus- 
sy's language  do  you  understand?  What 
does  she  say  when  she  wishes  you  to 
open  the  door  for  her?  How  does  she 
ask  for  something  to  eat?  What  does  she 
say  when  she  feels  like  conversing  with 
you?  How  does  she  cry  when  hurt?  When 
frightened?  What  noise  does  she  make 
when  fighting?  When  calling  other  cats? 
What  are  her  feelings  when  she  purrs? 
When  she  spits?  How  many  things  which 
you  say  does  she  understand? 

2.  How  else  than  by  voice  does  she  ex- 
press affection,  pleasure,  and  anger?  When 
she  carries  her  tail  straight  up  in  the  air 
is  she  in  a  pleasant  mood?  WTien  her  tail 
"  bristles  up  "  how  does  she  feel?  What 
is  it  a  sign  of,  when  she  lashes  her  tail 
back  and  forth? 

3.  What  do  you  feed  to  cats?  What  do 
they  catch  for  themselves?  What  do  the 
cats  that  are  wild  live  upon?  How  does 
the  cat  help  us?  How  does  she  injure  us? 

4.  How  does  a  cat  catch  her  prey?  Does 
she  track  mice  by  the  scent?  Does  she 
catch  them  by  tunning  after  them  as  a 
dog  does?  Describe  how  she  lies  in  am- 
bush. How  does  she  hold  the  mouse  as 
she  pounces  upon  it?  How  does  she  carry 
it  home  to  her  kittens? 

5.  Study  the  cat's  paws  to  see  how  she 
holds  her  prey.  Where  are  the  sharp  claws? 
Are  they  always  in  sight  like  a  dog's?  Does 


MAMMALS  265 

she  touch  them  to  the  ground  when  she 
walks?  Which  walks  more  silently,  a  dog 
or  a  cat?  Why?  Describe  the  cat's  foot, 
including  the  toe-pads.  Are  there  as  many 
toes  on  the  hind  feet  as  on  the  front  feet? 
What  kind  of  track  does  the  cat  make  in 
the  snow?  How  does  she  set  her  feet  to 
make  such  a  track?  How  does  she  sharpen 
her  claws?  How  does  she  use  her  claws 
for  climbing?  How  far  have  you  ever  seen 
a  cat  jump?  Does  she  use  her  front  or 
her  hind  feet  in  making  the  jump?  On 
which  feet  does  she  alight?  Does  she  make 
much  noise  when  she  alights? 

6.  What  is  there  peculiar  about  a  cat's 
eyes?  What  is  their  color?  What  is  the 
color  of  kittens'  eyes?  What  is  the  shape 
of  the  pupil  in  daylight?  In  the  dark?  De- 
scribe the  inner  lid  which  comes  from  the 
corner  of  the  eye. 

7.  How  many  teeth  has  Puss?  What  is 
the  use  of  the  long  tushes?  Why  is  there 
a  bare  space  behind  these?  What  does  she 
use  her  little  front  teeth  for?  Does  she  use 
her  back  teeth  for  chewing  or  for  cutting 
meat? 

8.  How  many  whiskers  has  she?  How 
long  are  they?  What  is  their  use?  Do  you 
think  Puss  has  a  keen  sense  of  smell?  Why 
do  you  think  so?  Do  you  think  she  has  a 
keen  sense  of  hearing?  How  do  the  shape 
and  position  of  the  ears  help  in  listening? 
In  what  position  are  the  ears  when  Puss 
is  angry? 

9.  How  many  colors  do  you  find  in  our 
domestic  cats?  What  is  the  color  of  wild 
cats?  Why  would  it  not  be  beneficial  to 
the  wild  cat  to  have  as  striking  colors  as 
our  tame  cats?  Compare  the  fur  of  the 
cat  with  the  hair  of  the  dog.  How  do  they 
differ?  If  a  cat  chased  her  prey  like  the 
dog  do  you  think  her  fur  would  be  too 
warm  a  covering? 

10.  Describe  how  the  cat  washes  her 
face.  How  does  she  clean  her  fur?  How 
does  her  rough  tongue  help  in  this?  How 
does  the  mother  cat  wash  her  kittens? 

11.  How  does  a  little  kitten  look  when 
a  day  or  two  old?  How  long  before  its 
eyes  open?  How  does  the  cat  carry  her 
kittens?  How  does  a  kitten  act  when  it 
is  being  carried?  How  does  the  mother 


266 


ANIMALS 


cat  punish  her  kittens?  How  does  she  teach 
them  to  catch  mice?  How  do  kittens  play? 
How  does  the  exercise  they  get  in  play- 
ing fit  them  to  become  hunters? 

12.  How  should  cats  be  trained  not  to 
touch  birds?  When  must  this  training  be- 
gin? Why  should  a  person  be  punished 
for  injury  to  the  public  who  takes  cats 
to  summer  cottages  and  leaves  them  there 
to  run  wild? 

13.  Where  in  the  room  does  Puss  best 
like  to  lie?  How  does  she  sun  herself? 
What  herb  does  she  like  best?  Does  she 
like  some  people  and  not  others?  What 


strange  companions  have  you  known  a  cat 
to  have?  What  is  the  cat's  chief  enemy? 
How  should  we  care  for  and  make  her 
comfortable? 

14.  Write  or  tell  stories  on  the  follow- 
ing subjects:  (i)  The  Things  Which  My 
Pet  Cat  Does;  (2)  The  Wild  Cat;  (3) 
The  Lion;  (4)  The  Tiger;  (5)  The  Leo- 
pard; (6)  The  Panther  and  the  Mountain 
Lion;  (7)  The  Lynx;  (8)  The  History  of 
Domestic  Cats;  (9)  The  Different  Races 
of  Cats,  describing  the  Manx,  the  Persian, 
and  the  Angora  Cats. 


A  herd  of  goats  by  the  Nueces  River,  Texas 


A.  A.  Wright 


THE  GOAT 


Little  do  we  in  America  realize  the  close 
companionship  that  has  existed  in  older 
countries,  from  time  immemorial,  be- 
tween goats  and  people.  This  association 
began  when  man  was  a  nomad,  and  took 
with  him  in  his  wanderings  his  flocks, 
of  which  goats  formed  the  larger  part.  He 
then  drank  their  milk,  ate  their  flesh,  wove 
their  hair  into  raiment,  or  made  cloth  of 
their  pelts,  and  used  their  skins  for  wrater 
bags.  Among  peoples  of  the  East  all  these 


uses  continue  to  the  present  day.  In  the 
streets  of  Cairo,  old  Arabs  may  be  seen 
with  goatskins  filled  with  water  upon  their 
backs;  and  in  any  city  of  western  Asia  or 
southern  Europe,  flocks  of  goats  are  driven 
along  the  streets  to  be  milked  in  sight  of 
the  consumer. 

In  order  to  understand  the  goat's  pe- 
culiarities of  form  and  habit,  we  should 
consider  it  as  a  wild  animal,  living  upon 
the  mountain  heights  amid  rocks  and  snow 


MAMMALS 


and  scant  vegetation.  It  is  marvelously 
sure-footed,  and  on  its  native  mountains 
it  can  climb  the  sharpest  crags  and  leap 
chasms.  This  peculiarity  has  been  seized 
upon  by  showmen  who  often  exhibit 
goats  which  walk  on  the  tight  rope  with 
ease,  and  even  turn  themselves  upon  it 
without  falling.  The  instinct  for  climbing 
still  lingers  in  the  domestic  breeds,  and  in 
the  country  the  goat  may  be  seen  on  top 
of  stone  piles  or  other  objects,  while,  in 
city  suburbs,  its  form  may  be  discerned 
on  the  roofs  of  shanties  and  other  low 
buildings. 


U.  S.  Dept.  Agriculture 

Saanen  goats  in  Switzerland 

It  is  a  common  saying  that  a  goat  will 
eat  anything,  and  much  sport  is  made  of 
this  peculiarity.  This  fact  has  more  mean- 
ing for  us  when  we  realize  that  wild  goats 
live  in  high  altitudes,  where  there  is  little 
plant  life,  and  are,  therefore,  obliged  to 
find  sustenance  on  lichens,  moss,  and  such 
scant  vegetation  as  they  can  find. 

The  goat  is  closely  allied  to  the  sheep, 
differing  from  it  in  only  a  few  particulars; 
its  horns  rise  from  the  forehead  curving 
over  backward  and  do  not  form  a  spiral 
like  those  of  the  ram;  its  covering  is  usu- 
ally of  hair,  and  the  male  has  a  beard  from 
which  we  get  the  name  goatee;  the  goat 
has  no  gland  between  the  toes,  and  it  does 
have  a  rank  and  disagreeable  odor.  In  a 
wild  state,  it  usually  lives  a  little  higher 
up  the  mountains  than  do  the  sheep,  and 
it  is  a  far  more  intelligent  animal.  Mary 
Austin  says:  "  Goats  lead  naturally  by 
reason  of  a  quicker  instinct,  forage  more 
freely  and  can  find  water  on  their  own  ac- 
count, and  give  voice  in  case  of  alarm. 


Saanen  doe 

Goat  leaders  exhibit  jealousy  of  their  rights 
to  be  first  over  the  stepping-stones  or  to 
walk  the  teetering  log  bridges  at  the  roar- 
ing creeks/7  On  the  great  plains,  it  is  a 
common  usage  to  place  a  few  goats  in  a 
flock  of  sheep,  because  of  the  greater 
sagacity  of  these  animals  as  leaders,  and 
also  as  defenders  in  case  of  attack. 

Goats'  teeth  are  arranged  for  cropping 
herbage  and  especially  for  browsing.  There 
are  six  molar  teeth  on  each  side  of  each 
jaw;  there  are  eight  lower  incisors  and 
none  above.  The  goat's  sense  of  smell  is 
very  acute;  the  ears  are  movable  and  the 
sense  of  hearing  is  keen;  the  eyes  are  full 
and  very  intelligent;  the  horns  are  some- 
what flattened  and  angular,  are  often 
knobbed  somewhat  in  front,  and  curve 
backward  above  the  neck;  they  are,  how- 
ever, very  efficient  as  weapons  of  defense. 
The  legs  are  strong,  though  not  large,  and 
are  well  fitted  for  leaping  and  running. 


N".  Y.  Agr.  Exp.  Station,  Geneva 

Toggenburg  goat.  This  Swiss  breed,  de- 
veloped by  a  careful  selection  of  animals  for 
many  years,  has  attained  a  very  definite 
standard  of  size,  color }  and  conformation 


z68 


ANIMALS 


N.  Y.  Agr.  Exp.  Station,  Geneva 

French  alpine  doe.  Alpines  are  sturdy,  and 
have  been  bred  for  high  production  of  fine- 
flavored  milk 

The  feet  have  two  hoofs,  that  is,  the  ani- 
mal walks  upon  two  toenails.  There  are 
two  smaller  toes  behind  and  above  the 
hoofs.  The  goat  can  run  with  great  rapid- 
ity. The  tail  of  the  goat  is  short  like  that 
of  the  deer,  and  does  not  need  to  be  am- 
putated like  that  of  the  sheep.  Although 
the  normal  covering  of  the  goat  is  hair, 
there  are  some  species  which  have  a  more 
or  less  woolly  coat.  When  angry  the  goat 
shakes  its  head,  and  defends  itself  by  but- 
ting with  the  head,  also  by  striking  with 
the  horns,  which  are  very  sharp.  Goats 
are  very  tractable  and  make  affectionate 
pets  when  treated  with  kindness;  they  dis- 
play far  more  affection  for  their  owner 
than  do  sheep. 

Our  famous  Rocky  Mountain  goat,  al- 
though it  belongs  rather  to  the  antelope 
family,  is  a  large  animal,  and  is  the  special 
prize  of  the  hunter;  however,  it  still  holds 
its  own  in  the  high  mountains  of  the 
Rocky  and  Cascade  Ranges.  Both  sexes 
have  slender  black  horns,  white  hair,  and 
black  feet,  eyes,  and  nose.  Owen  Wister 
says  of  this  animal:  "He  is  white,  all 
white,  and  shaggy,  and  twice  as  large  as  any 
goat  you  ever  saw.  His  white  hair  hangs 
long  all  over  him  like  a  Spitz  dog's  or  an 
Angora  cat's;  and  against  its  shaggy  white 
mass  the  blackness  of  his  hoofs  and  horns, 


and  nose  looks  particularly  black.  His  legs 
are  thick,  his  neck  is  thick,  everything 
about  him  is  thick,  save  only  his  thin 
black  horns.  They're  generally  about  six 
(often  more  than  nine)  inches  long,  they 
spread  very  slightly,  and  they  curve  slightly 
backward.  At  their  base  they  are  a  little 
rough,  but  as  they  rise  they  become  cylin- 
drically  smooth  and  taper  to  an  ugly  point. 
His  hoofs  are  heavy,  broad  and  blunt.  The 
female  is  lighter  than  the  male,  and  with 
horns  more  slender,  a  trifle.  And  (to  re- 
turn to  the  question  of  diet)  we  visited 
the  pasture  where  the  herd  (of  thirty-five) 
had  been,  and  found  no  signs  of  grass 
growing  or  grass  eaten;  there  was  no  grass 
on  that  mountain.  The  only  edible  sub- 
stance was  a  moss,  tufted,  stiff  and  dry  to 
the  touch.  I  also  learned  that  the  goat 
is  safe  from  predatory  animals.  With  his 
impenetrable  hide  and  his  disemboweling 
horns  he  is  left  by  the  wolves  and  moun- 
tain lions  respectfully  alone." 

MILCH  GOATS  —  Many  breeds  of  these 
have  been  developed,  and  the  highest  type 
is,  perhaps,  found  in  Switzerland.  The 
Swiss  farmers  have  found  the  goat  par- 
ticularly adapted  to  their  high  mountains 
and  have  used  it  extensively;  thus,  goats 
developed  in  the  Saane  and  Toggenburg 
valleys  have  a  world-wide  reputation. 
Above  these  valleys  the  high  mountains 
are  covered  with  perpetual  snow,  and  win- 
ter sets  in  about  November  i,  lasting 
until  the  last  of  May.  The  goats  are  kept 
with  the  cows  in  barns  and  fed  upon  hay; 
but  as  soon  as  the  snow  is  gone  from  the 
valleys  and  the  lower  foothills,  the  cattle 
and  goats  are  sent  with  the  herders  and 
boy  assistants  to  the  grazing  grounds.  A 
bell  is  put  upon  the  cow  that  leads  the 
herd  so  as  to  keep  it  together  and  the  boys, 
in  their  gay  peasant  dresses,  are  as  happy 
as  the  playful  calves  and  goats  to  get  out 
in  the  spring  sunshine.  The  herds  follow 
the  receding  snows  up  the  mountains  un- 
til about  midsummer,  when  they  reach 
the  high  places  of  scanty  vegetation;  then 
they  start  on  the  downward  journey,  re- 
turning to  the  home  and  stables  about 
November  i.  The